Documentaries to Watch @Home - Community Edition

Documentaries to Watch @Home - Community Edition

Documentaries to watch at home - here are recommendations by the community

Click the film image to watch the trailer

Please, please - give us your suggestion of a film that we may share with the community.

add your suggestion

Adele and Everything After

Showing on FREE on Netflix (with ads)

Thank You Kathleen in Newburyport

Adele and Everything After is a moving documentary for dog lovers, about a woman with an untreatable heart condition and the service dog who transforms her life.

Adele and Everything After is joyous and heart-rending and poignant and bursting with love for and from doggos. This first documentary feature from filmmaker Melissa Dowler is a simple, marvelously engaging portrait of the extraordinary relationship between one woman and her service dog, and the beyond-bittersweet transition that must inevitably occur when the dog’s working life comes to an end.

Bostonian Marty Harris has suffered her entire life from a cardiac condition that leads to massive drops in her blood pressure resulting in unexpected fainting. Harris had hurt herself countless times, including serious injuries such as concussions, in her falls, which came without warning, until she went to Pennsylvania nonprofit Canine Partners for Life and asked if a service dog might be able to help her. No one had ever thought of using dogs to help people with cardiac issues, but it worked great. Adele, a black lab, has been alerting Harris to incipient drops in her blood pressure, helping her forestall fainting, so well that Harris went from being afraid to leave her house to living a full, even adventurous life. (She can even drive a car).

WARNING - This is a tear jerker - here's a review on Netflix

As I type through my tears, I believe this film to be one of the most beautiful love stories of all time. It is not merely a story about an "invisible" illness and what it is like to live with such a thing. It is not merely about service dogs. It is about the special, deep and intense love and bond between a woman and her canine. As I was watching, I kept looking at my pal, sleeping by my feet. He is not a trained service dog, but his faithful companionship has kept me going through the most difficult part of my life. I would recommend Adele and Everything After to anyone who has opened their heart to an unconditional love. Thank you, Marty, for allowing your story to be told. Thank you, Melissa Dowler, for recognizing the beauty in this relationship. Thank you, Adele, for showing us that, indeed, dogs are our best friends.


Watch the Film

In Pursuit of Silence

Thanks to Joanne in Newburyport

Streaming FREE during the Global COVID-19

In Pursuit of Silence is streaming free worldwide during the global COVID-19 crisis as a gift from the filmmakers to help each of us embrace what this unprecedented season offers. In Pursuit of Silence speaks directly to what many of us are going through right now during these challenging times as we are confronted with a quieter way of life, free from the noise of the outside world, and more aligned to our natural rhythms.

Beginning with an ode to John Cage’s seminal silent composition 4’33”, the sights and sounds of this film delicately interweave with silence to create a contemplative and cinematic experience that works its way through frantic minds and into the quiet spaces of hearts. As much a work of devotion as it is a documentary, In Pursuit of Silence is a meditative exploration of our relationship with silence and the impact of noise on our lives. From the Desert Fathers and mothers of the third century AD who became a model for early Christian monasticism to John Cage’s 4’33” which would go onto inspire a generation of artists, humankind has had a long fascination with silence. Yet in our race towards modernity, amidst all the technological innovation and the rapid growth of our cities, silence is now quickly passing into legend. From causing aggressive behavior to hundreds of thousands of heart attacks around the world, there is no aspect of human life that noise does not infringe upon. Silence as a resource for respite and renewal from the sensory onslaught of our modern lives is now more important than ever before.

“In Pursuit of Silence,” a remarkable documentary that paradoxically proves that when it comes to silence, there is a lot to be said as well as a great deal to be shown.
Half visual essay, half verbal investigation, “Silence” is thoughtful and informative as well as contemplative and restorative. It both tells you why you perhaps yearn for silence and shows you what it would look like if you could find it. Los Angeles Times

Watch the Film

Ken Burn's Baseball - An American Classic

Thank You James in Amesbury

Showing on FREE on PBS

You might be dreaming of watching the Red Sox recover from a disappointing 2019 season, of popcorn, hot dogs, overpriced beer and even chilling spring nights at Fenway but Baseball is on hiatus. But fans can relive the history of America’s pastime thanks to a nice gesture by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns.

Burns is making his famed documentary series "Baseball" available to stream for free on PBS, hoping that the sport can continue to bring people together even as the MLB season is delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

You can watch "Baseball" at pbs.org/show/baseball.

"With events canceled and so much closed, I asked PBS to stream 'Baseball' for free so we can participate in the national pastime together," Burns tweeted Sunday morning.

Watch the Series

Fantastic Fungi

Thank you Mary in Byfield

Playing on Fantastic Fungi Website with Virtual Event 21st April (for Earth Day)

This film is not FREE but it was a big hit at the Screening Room at the start of the year. The film distribution has been disrupted by the current crisis but its a great movie.

Fantastic Fungi, directed by Louie Schwartzberg, is a consciousness-shifting film that takes us on an immersive journey through time and scale into the magical earth beneath our feet, an underground network that can heal and save our planet. Through the eyes of renowned scientists and mycologists like Paul Stamets, best-selling authors Michael Pollan, Eugenia Bone, Andrew Weil and others, we become aware of the beauty, intelligence and solutions the fungi kingdom offer us in response to some of our most pressing medical, therapeutic, and environmental challenges.

As a special presentation, join the team on April 21st to start the celebration of Earth Day with Fungi Day. As the 50th anniversary of Earth Day approaches, now more than ever, we need to recognize that our connections – to our planet and to one another – can have deep-rooted and long lasting effects on our lives and our collective future.

Special Virtual Event

If you watched the film at the Screening Room or on demand or just want to  participate in the day long virtual gathering featuring live streamed conversations with researchers, educators and solutionaries about our planet’s most pressing environmental and global challenges, see the schedule and sign up at the FantasicFungi website.

Watch the Film ($4.99)

The Biggest Little Farm

Thank you to Jill in Salisbury

Showing on Hulu (Free with Subscription), Amazon ($3.99), YouTube ($3.99)

Another big Screening Room hit from last summer and nominated for an OSCAR.

The Biggest Little Farm is about a young couple who decide to leave their old lives behind and buy a farm. The movie especially points out how hard it is to keep a farm running and all of the hardships, sadness and anger they face, but also the happy, beautiful moments and the relationships they build. The film premiered at the Telluride Film Festival It had its second screening at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was named second runner-up for the People's Choice Award: Documentaries. It was selected as the Opening Night film at Doc NYC The film was screened as part of the Spotlight Section at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. It also screened at the 29th New Orleans Film Festival. And of course it premiered in Newburyport at the Screening Room in 2019. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 91%

Watch the Film

I Am Another You

Thank You to Anke in Newburyport

In I Am Another You, filmmaker Nanfu Wang explores the meaning of personal freedom through the eyes of a young American drifter. When 20-something Chinese filmmaker Nanfu first came to America in 2011, Florida seemed like an exotic frontier full of theme parks, prehistoric swamp creatures, and sunburned denizens.

Filmmaker Nanfu Wang grew up in poor circumstances in rural China and only recently immigrated to the United States. She obviously has talent to spare. Her debut feature, “Hooligan Sparrow,” was shortlisted for the Best Documentary Oscar. In “I Am Another You,” her luck begins with a chance encounter. As she explains in the film’s first minutes, in China one of the few freedoms she had was to travel, so she started a tradition of going to a place she’d never been before every year on her birthday. Living in New York, she decided to go to Florida, and it was in a hostel there that she met a charismatic 22-year-old named Dylan Olsen. As soon as they began talking, it seems, she began filming.

According to a reviewer on RogerEbert.com, "One of the most striking and enthralling nonfiction films this reviewer has seen in years, “I Am Another You” almost seems designed to prove that great documentaries require large measures of both talent and luck.

Watch the Film

Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé

Thank You to Janet in Exeter, NH

Showing on Netflix

Music documentaries on world famous artists rarely sink. Let’s face it, if you love Beyonce, you’re going to love this, and you’ve probably already seen it. Homecoming focuses in on Queen Bee’s 2018 Coachella performance, her homage to America’s historically black universities. Homecoming takes you on the road trip from the initial concept to the eventual product, and the movement her career has always encouraged.

This is not just a concert replay, it’s not a mere surface-level celebration of her back catalogue, the film seeks to immerse itself in the world of Beyonce, how she became a brand, an icon, and culminating in Coachella where she became the first black woman to headline the world famous festival.

Beyonce speaks in a phantom-like voiceover for most of the near 140-minute epic, outlining her mission, values and goals, while we watch them being steadily brought to life in her shows.

 Watch the Film

Diana in her Own Words

Thank you to Peggy in London, United Kingdom

Available on YouTube (Free) and Netflix

In the past year, the royal drama has largely followed Harry and Meghan - the Duke and Duchess of Sussex but it was possibly Harry's mother that first captured our attention, the tragically unhappy Princess of Wales, Diana. Thank to one of our international community for bringing this one to our attention.

Diana: In Her Own Words is a television documentary that was broadcast on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom . This film was produced by Kaboom Film and Television of the United Kingdom includes footage of the late Diana, Princess of Wales discussing aspects of her personal life, including her marriage to Prince Charles which was recorded during conversations she had with a voice coach in 1992 and 1993.

In July 2017, it emerged that Channel 4 planned to broadcast the documentary in the run up to the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana.  On 30 July, The Mail on Sunday reported that Diana's brother, the 9th Earl Spencer, had urged Channel 4 not to broadcast the tapes of his sister amid concerns it would cause distress to her two sons(His concerns were subsequently echoed by Royal commentators and friends of the late princess, including Rosa Monckton, who intended to write to the broadcaster urging them not to show the footage, which she said "doesn't belong in the public domain".

Watch the Film on YouTube (Free)

Watch the Film on Netflix

Under an Arctic Sky

Thank you to Andy in Newburyport

Showing on Amazon ($3.99), YouTube ($3.99)

The film follows six surfers along with adventure photographer Chris Burkard and filmmaker Ben Weiland as they seek out unknown swell in the remote fjords of Iceland's Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. Chartering a boat, they depart from Isafjordur on the cusp of the largest storm to make landfall in twenty-five years. With the knowledge that storms bring legendary swell the crew are optimistic, but face failure when the storm forces them back to shore. Making the decision to carry the expedition on by road they experience the brutality of Iceland's winter and question whether the search is worth risking their lives. Despite setbacks the team pushes on and finds that uncertainty is the best ingredient for discovering the unimaginable.

Watch the Film on Amazon

Watch the film on YouTube Films

FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

Thank you to Melissa in Boxford

Showing on Netflix

We mentioned this film, a year back but as we are at the third anniversary of the original party and while we are restricted from traveling to our own islands and parties, lets live out one of the most famous parties of all time and glad we are at home.

A cheese sandwich should not be the ­defining image of a luxury music ­festival. But Fyre Festival, which took place (in the loosest possible sense) on an island in the Bahamas over a ­weekend in April 2017, will forever be ­associated with two triangles of brown bread, a slice of clammy white cheese and a fistful of limp salad – all presented in a white ­polystyrene box.

Watch the Film

Summoned:  Frances Perkins and the General Welfare

Thank You to Megan in a secret town

Available FREE for a short time on KCET (PBS - Los Angeles) and on Amazon ($4.99)

Summoned: Frances Perkins and the General Welfare

The first woman appointed to a U.S. Presidential cabinet, Frances Perkins created the social safety net that continues to shape the lives of Americans today. In her 12 years as Labor Secretary under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Perkins created the Social Security program, a federal minimum wage, the 40-hour work week and unemployment compensation, and ended the legal use of child labor. "Summoned: Frances Perkins and the General Welfare" tells the story of Perkins' life through rare archival recordings of her voice, and interviews with Nancy Pelosi, George Mitchell, David Brooks, Lawrence O'Donnell and Amy Klobuchar.

Watch on KCET

Watch on Amazon

If you have a recommendation for a documentary, a festival, or a local film showing, please share with the community