Entertainment comes in different forms for all of us. When it comes to our choices in movies and shows, our individual interests heavily influence what we spend our time watching. I am an avid watcher of romantic comedies and horror movies. I enjoy watching characters fall in love and I also like having a good scare. Despite this, I still have an open mind when it comes to different genres that can teach me new, interesting aspects of life. Documentaries, in particular, have made me more aware of the outside world and I encourage everyone not to scroll past them on Netflix.
Over the summer, I discovered the importance of documentaries and the impact they have. Although I spent my summer as a remote editorial intern and going to a class, I always made sure to save my Sundays to watch documentaries. A powerful documentary I recommend is “The Hunting Ground.” It discusses America’s rape culture across colleges and universities. The movie studies specific cases and also interviews rape survivors. It’s difficult to deny the need for more sex education and creating an open dialogue about rape after watching this documentary.
A documentary series that caused an uproar immediately after its release was Netflix's “Making A Murderer.” I watched the eight shocking episodes within a few days. Thousands of people expressed their opinions on the disturbing and unjust trials Steven Avery and Brenden Dassey went through. They were found guilty of a murder and then locked away to be forgotten about. But this documentary series brought national attention to their cases and has created new opportunities for potential freedom for Brenden Dassey. Through the series, they were both able to continue actively fighting for their freedom after having their cases opened again.
Another documentary that makes viewers think is “Who Took Johnny?” The disappearance of Johnny Gosch in 1982 was brought back to people’s memories, while also teaching younger audiences about the case. The documentary gives viewers great details about the case and how America was during the time of the disappearance. The case is brought into the modern day by interviewing Johnny’s mother, who has made great efforts in the government to prevent future kidnappings.
If you prefer a more casual documentary, “Unbranded” is a great choice. It takes viewers on a beautiful journey from Mexico to Canada. We all have had the dream of backpacking through the countryside to discover ourselves while taking in nature’s great sights. Well, if you don’t have the time or money to do that yet, watching “Unbranded” is the next best thing. It’s an exciting film that follows four recent college graduates who travel on horseback. The four friends have fun along the way but they also confront personal conflict.
Documentaries have given me the opportunity to experience different parts of life from becoming more aware of America’s rape culture and the attention it desperately needs from everyone, to traveling through the countryside with good friends. These kind of films are one-of-a-kind, which anyone can enjoy because they cover a large range of topics. The next time you see a documentary suggestion pop up, give it a chance.