Ignoring the “why” (we’ve all had enough of the C-word, thanks), we’ve been hitting Netflix hard to find the best social, environmental and cultural Netflix documentaries to watch in November 2020.
Netflix are due some serious props for their factual content – there are hundreds of stonking cultural documentaries. To narrow it down and find our top 5 Netflix documentaries, we bypassed the harrowing in favour of light-hearted, non-exhausting watches. Entertaining and enlightening, these docs will occupy your brain without breaking your heart.
But just in case, we’ve added a ‘fragility rating’, so you know what you’re getting yourself into.
🤗🤗🤗 Easy anytime watch, great for a mid-week evening
👍👍👍 Definitely more highs than lows, but expect a few moments
👌👌👌 Very watchable but avoid on tough days – unless you need to schedule a cry.
They had us at “The business of beauty is having a moment”. This Netflix docuseries takes an in-depth-ish look at the production of and marketing tactics behind some of the biggest consumer trends, including beauty, vaping, flat-pack furniture and recyclable packing. Each episode tackles a different trend and examines how market forces, conscious consumers and social media intersect to influence/reflect us and the resulting impact. Interesting, in-depth and not hard-hitting.
Fragility rating: 👍👍👍
DOWN TO EARTH
Half travel show, half environmental show, Down To Earth follows Zac Effron (yup, that Zac Effron) and wellness expert Darin Olien as they travel around the world to “find some new perspectives on some very old problems”. In this docu-series, Effron and Olien (who also serves as Exec Producer) travel to Iceland, Sardinia, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and Lima in search of healthy, sustainable ways to live…by flying around the world. There’s some dubious ‘science’ (from Olien) and no ground-breaking revelations, BUT, they’re not claiming to be experts (well, Effron isn’t anyway). Instead, we watch two friends with a genuine interest in people and the planet learn more about both. An effortless, light-hearted watch to leave you feeling positive and a bit uplifted.
“Experiencing the planet’s natural beauty through an examination of how climate change impacts all living creatures in this ambitious documentary of spectacular scope.” It’s David Attenborough, so…it’s great. But just a quick note, the processional of baby flamingos jogging to the water hole is a visual treat.
American docu-series exploring the human stories behind the food supply chain. Episode 1 takes on the story of the avocado; from PR crisis in the ‘fat burning, sweat-loving 1980s’ to the 1990s free trade agreements that planted the avocado/ Alligator pear/ testicle (that makes sense when you watch it) at the heart of both climate change and organised crime. Even though there’s a lot to take in, Rotten handles the stories with care, great cinematography, archive footage and graphics to make an interesting, easy watch.
Fragility rating: 👍👍👍
THE KINDNESS DIARIES
Relying upon only the kindness of strangers, Kindness Activist Leon Legothetis travels around the world to celebrate kindness and highlight the good in humanity. No food, no cash and nowhere to stay, at every stop, Legothetis seeks out big-hearted strangers to help meet his basic needs. As he makes his way on a vintage yellow motorbike, Legothetis meets some truly selfless people whose kindness really will bolster your faith in humanity. Apparently unscripted, some ‘chance meetings’ are undoubtedly engineered, but that we can forgive, as 1. Legothetis, a former broker from London, bestows life-changing amounts to many that he meets and, 2. It’s a feel-good watch – the only tears you’ll be shedding will be happy ones.
Fragility rating: 🤗🤗🤗