Documentaries to Watch @Home - December 2019

Documentaries to Watch @Home - December 2019

Documentaries to watch at home - here are our latest recommendations

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Beers of Joy

Showing on Hulu

Opening the Newburyport Documentary Film Festival clearly worked for Beers of Joy which is now available to view on Hulu.

Are you a beer fanatic and want to learn more about the process of how it’s made? Or do you just casually drink beer sometimes and enjoy the taste? In either case, if you have even a little bit of interest in the drink, Beers of Joy is a movie to watch. It follows four people as they travel around the world immersing themselves in beer. You’ll leave it having learned a lot and definitely wanting a beer or two.

Amanda Knox

Showing on Netflix

If you believe Amanda Knox is innocent, then Netflix’s new documentary about her life and trial is for you. But if you believe she’s guilty, then this documentary is also for you.

Back in 2007, the then college student’s life changed forever during her stay in Italy, when her roommate Meredith Kercher was found dead, fatally stabbed numerous times in their apartment. Knox, along with her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, was convicted for the brutal death and sentenced to 26 years in prison—but the conviction was overturned last year. A man named Rudy Guede was also arrested, tried, and convicted for Kercher's death, and given a 16-year sentence.

The film include interviews with Knox, Sollecito, prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, and Daily Mail reporter Nick Pisa.

Netflix knowing there were very clear opinions on Knox's plight created two film trailers - one for those that believe her and one for those that suspect her.

Believe Her trailer

Suspect Her Trailer


Available to rent on iTunes, YouTube, Amazon, Google Play, or Vudu.

A Macedonian bee-keeper may not be the documentary subject you think you need in your life, but this gorgeous and closely observed film makes the case that it is. Playing more like a particularly thoughtful indie drama than the usual carefully narrated documentary, it’s the story of a vanishing way of life, in a forgotten corner of Europe, but also a character study of extraordinary intimacy and feeling.

Honeyland follows Hatidze Muratova, the last in a long line of Macedonian beekeepers. Hatidze lives with her ailing mother in a small village without electricity running water. She tries to continue the family business even if it means walking four hours to the nearest city to sell her wares. The film follows the challenges of doing things the old way in an increasingly industrialized and crowded world.

The Disappearance of Madeline McCann

Showing on Netflix

Often regarded as the British counterpart to America's Jon Benet Ramsey, the documentary limited series traces the baffling disappearance of 3-year-old Madeleine McCann, who went missing while on a family vacation in Portugal. Unlike Ramsey though, McCann was never found, prompting an onslaught of theories that targeted everyone in the area, all the way down to McCann's parents. The story has been constant news in the UK for 12 years and has been described by The Daily Telegraph as "the most heavily reported missing-person case in modern history".

Tell Me Who I Am

Showing on Netflix

The premise is irresistible: After a motorcycle accident, 18-year-old Alex Lewis wakes up in an English hospital and sees a man and a woman on either side of his bed. He instantly recognizes his twin brother Marcus, but doesn’t know his mother. Marcus starts to fill in Alex’s empty, amnesiac brain with all the people, places, and things he needs to know in order to function at home, at school, and in the world.

But Marcus creates an alternate reality from the one they actually grew up in. He paints a prettier picture of Lewis family life, invents vacations they never took, and leaves things out, including their childhood sexual abuse.

Amazing Grace

Available to Rent on Amazon Prime

Recorded years ago, Amazing Grace is part movie-concert, part documentary. No matter what you call it, it’s nearly impossible to not be moved by the incredible vocals of Aretha Franklin performing at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles. The performance is so powerful that it feels like you’re sitting in on a personal video passed among friends. For those not normally inclined to turn on a documentary, this is a good entry point because who among us doesn’t love Aretha Franklin?

"Amazing Grace" can stand as an essential filmed record of what is undoubtedly one of the greatest gospel performances you'll ever see.


Available on Netflix

Many folks watch the Westminster Dog Show over Thanksgiving, so why not a Cat Show for the holidays. If you’re not in the mood for a hard-hitting exposé, then we suggest watching this film about the Crufts competitions of the cat world. Unlike most documentaries, Catwalk: Tales From The Cat Show Circuit won’t leave you depressed and questioning the state of humanity. Instead, you’ll find yourself smiling with glee at the flamboyant felines and their obsessive owners. What more could you want for your next sofa binging session? Out now on Netflix.

That Sugar Film

Now Showing on Amazon prime

Here's Australia’s highest-grossing documentary. That Sugar Film certainly hit a nerve with society’s fascination on how sugar affects the body. In a similar model to the wildly famous Super Size Me, director and star Damon Gameau decides to consume high-sugar, though commonly thought of as healthy foods for 30 days. His point isn’t to prove how bad items like candy or soda are but, instead, to identify unhealthy amounts of sugar in unexpected places. For anyone feeling run down by sugar but not sure why, this film can be an eye-opener.

Well Groomed

Showing on HBO

Another Newburyport Doc fest Entry that has since gained national distribution.

Well Groomed is a documentary that explores the exuberant world of competitive dog grooming and follows the lives of dog owners who are challenging the definition of art.

The film offers a rare look into the lives of dog owners who are dedicated to transforming their poodles into living sculptures. It delves deep into an all-consuming subculture of America where the motivation to win drives them into devoting their lives to the competition.

The documentary follows a group of determined dog groomers who are driven to succeed while facing a series of challenges in each of their personal and professional lives over the course of a year. It will also offer a peek into their limited-time outside the ring, where they groom other people’s dogs, care for own pets and test out new designs on their show dogs.

The Milky Way

Showing on Amazon prime

If you’re looking to watch an empowering, female documentary that will touch your soul, this is it. The Milky Way dives into the way women are treated as mothers, the natural ways their bodies change and adapt, the core of taking care of another human being, and how women’s rights haven’t been protected during the breastfeeding stage in America. Did you know America is one of only four governments in the world with no government-mandated paid maternity leave? You’ll learn that and a whole lot more in Jon Fitzgerald‘s essential film.  It is a truly eye-opening production about breastfeeding as a whole and how it is viewed by society.

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