We all love a good documentary, and as the days of live broadcast T.V. end, streaming services are investing money in producing new work. There’s also a rise in older iconic documentary re-releases.  In 2019, popular documentaries across genres brought in billions of viewers and dollars. In these days of increasing misinformation, it’s important to have some solid factual based films out there.  

But which ones you should put on your ‘must watch’ list, and why?  Here is a summary of the most highly acclaimed documentaries currently available. 

 

  •  Our Planet 

 

This British docuseries, produced by Netflix in 2019, explores important areas of nature and science including climate change, and its effect on the animal world.  Narrated by the infamous David Attenborough, this critically acclaimed production has won two Emmy awards and is endorsed by environmental organisations such as WWF. Critics have praised the work as ground-breaking, and others have said the production has gone where other environmental films have not had the courage to go. 

 

  • Apollo 11

 

Directed by Todd Douglas Miller and released on Amazon Prime in 2019, this fascinating documentary includes footage that has never been seen before. The contrast of old film and new IMAX format is simply stunning and one not to miss if you are a space and astronaut enthusiast.  Focusing on the feelings and sensation of being in Space, rather than the facts and figures, reviewers and critics alike agree that this production will evoke an emotional response of some sort, in every viewer. 

 

  • Fantastic Fungi

 

Showing in Cinemas now, this awe-inspiring documentary has had amazing reviews including a rating of 100% from Rotten Tomatoes.  This production is bursting at the seams with a host of highly regarded expert Scientists and Environmentalists. It is a visual delight of observation within the natural world, focusing on the power of fungi to heal, regrow, and restore balance to the Earth.  

 

  • The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley

 

Award-Winning director Alex Gibney strikes hard with this brave dive into a world of fraud and corruption.  When a young scientist claims she has created a revolutionary blood analysis system, she becomes a billionaire almost overnight. This is a fascinating story of the dramatic rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, the young start-up who was likened to the next Steve Jobs.  As a viewer, you can sense that Gibney is heavily invested in telling this story, and he holds nothing back. 

 

  • Sea of Shadows

 

Directed by Richard Ladakhi, (maker of The Ivory Game and The Devil’s Miner), Sea of Shadows investigates the effort to save the vaquita, a small whale under threat of extinction in the Mexican Sea of Cortez.  The film crew follows a rescue mission of extreme proportions, shadowing a team of brave scientists and journalists who must battle high level criminal cartels, and corrupt government bodies, in order to save the marine life.  This film has received awards at Sundance, and high praise from National Geographic, whose website allows you to stream it directly.

 

  • Babies

 

This documentary is captivating from the start. The filmmaker, Thomas Balmès, follows the lives of four babies across the World in Namibia, USA, Tokyo and Mongolia and the footage speaks volumes. Science and cuteness come together in this charming documentary with experts sharing little known facts about beings at the start of their lives.  Although the original release date was back in 2010, both Netflix and Amazon Prime have recently started showing it, confirming that it is still relevant today. 

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