• These eight documentaries are powerful, shocking, heartbreaking and intense and resonate with viewers open to learning about the world
Moviegoers are suckers for a true story which is why documentary films are so endearing and fascinating.
While we often respond to narrative features with glee, hope, fear and excitement nothing can stop a good documentary, which can also shake us to our core while expanding our world view through experiences that are unknown or foreign.
These eight documentaries are powerful, shocking, heartbreaking and intense and resonate with viewers open to learning about the world.
The documentaries topped the list in show max.
Leaving Neverland is a 2019 documentary directed and produced by British filmmaker Dan Reed.
It focuses on two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck who allege they were sexually abused as children by the late Michael Jackson.
The two-part documentary has five 2019 Emmy nominations, including Best Documentary and Best Documentary Director (Dan Reed).
This is Dan Reed’s first Emmy nomination, although he’s already won four BAFTAs.
It is currently the top-ranked documentary on these eight documentaries that are powerful, shocking, heartbreaking and intense and resonate with many.
The two-part documentary was first screened on Showmax in South Africa in July 2019.
I LOVE YOU, NOW DIE; THE COMMONWEALTH VS. MICHELLE CARTER
In July 2014, 18-year-old Conrad Roy committed suicide in his truck at a parking lot in Fairhaven, Massachusetts.
Police later discovered a series of text messages in which his girlfriend, 17-year-old Michelle Carter, seemed to encourage him to kill himself.
This sparked a controversial case that had the potential to redefine accountability in the digital age.
The two-part documentary was first screened on Showmax in South Africa in July 2019, just months after its world premiere at SXSW.
It is currently the second-highest ranked documentary on Rotten Tomatoes’ list of the best TV series of 2019 so far, sitting at number 25 with a 96% critics rating.
SURVIVING R. KELLY
Celebrated as one of the greatest R&B singers of all time, R. Kelly’s genre-defining career has been riddled with rumors.
In Surviving R Kelly, for the first time ever, survivors and people from his inner circle come forward with new allegations about sexual, psychological, and physical abuse.
First screened on M-Net in South Africa, the bombshell documentary series features over 50 interviews, including conversations with civil rights activist Tarana Burke, musicians John Legend and Sparkle, talk-show host and former DJ Wendy Williams, ex-wife Andrea Kelly, ex-girlfriend Kitti Jones, brothers Carey and Bruce Kelly and many others.
It is a 2019 Emmy nominee for Outstanding Informational Series or Special and is currently the third-highest ranked documentary on rotten Tomatoes’ list of the best TV series of 2019 so far, sitting at number 29 with a 95% critics rating.
THE INVENTOR: OUT FOR BLOOD IN SILICON VALLEY
Directed by Oscar and Emmy winner Alex Gibney.
This HBO documentary reveals what happened and explores the psychology of deception behind Silicon Valley’s ‘fake it till you make it’ mindset.
The Inventor was simultaneously released on both M-Net and Showmax in May 2019, just months after its world premiere at Sundance 2019.
The Inventor is a 2019 Emmy nominee for Best Documentary and is currently at number 11 on the list of the best TV movies of 2019 so far on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus is that The Inventor is “a comprehensive overview of the scandal that allows viewers to mull over its implications towards the broader Silicon Valley.”
GAME OF THRONES – THE LAST WATCH
Made with unprecedented access, Game Of Thrones: The Last Watch, is an up-close and personal report from the trenches of production, following the crew and the cast as they contend with extreme weather, punishing deadlines and an ever-excited fandom hungry for spoilers.
Game of Thrones – The Last Watch was simultaneously released on both M-Net and Showmax in May 2019, just after the Season 8 finale.
It is a 2019 Emmy nominee for Best Music Composition: Documentary and has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Mashable went so far as to claim The Last Watch was “a better ending than the Game Of Thrones finale… substantially more emotional and satisfying… A really, really good documentary…”
WHO KILLED GARRET PHILIPS?
Who Killed Garrett Phillips? takes on issues of racial fairness in law enforcement, while trying to uncover the truth behind a young boy’s horrific murder and the vilification of a black man swept up in a dogged quest for justice. Who Killed Garrett Phillips? was released first on Showmax in South Africa in August 2019.
It has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Daily Beast called it “a stunning and enraging examination of race and the U.S. criminal justice system.”
WHAT’S MY NAME: MUHAMMAD ALI
Directed by Black Reel winner Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali tells the boxing great’s story in his own voice, painting a vivid picture of the man Sports Illustrated declared the greatest athlete of the 20th Century.
All Ali’s fights are here, from The Thrilla In Manilla against Joe Frazier to The Rumble In The Jungle against George Foreman - the world’s most-watched live television broadcast at the time - to his fight as a 38-year-old against his former sparring partner Larry Holmes, who wept after beating his idol on a technical knockout.
But as thrilling as watching Ali float like a butterfly and sting like a bee is, the real joy of the documentary is listening to him talk.
ICE ON FIRE
Produced and narrated by Oscar-winner Leonardo di Caprio, Ice On Fire is an eye-opening documentary focusing on solutions to our escalating environmental crisis.
The documentary recommends an immediate, two-pronged response to climate change: both reducing carbon emissions and implementing “drawdown” measures to lower existing CO2 levels, like direct air capture, sea farms, urban farms, biochar, marine snow, and bionic leaves.
Directed by Leila Conners (The 11th Hour), Ice On Fire was released first on Showmax in South Africa in August 2019, just months after its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.
It was nominated for the Golden Eye award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and has a 90% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. As Screen International put it, Ice On Fire “should be essential viewing for anyone who plans to carry on living on the planet...”