The Quick Report

10 Captivating Documentaries That Will Expand Your Mind

The best documentaries are those that touch us on a deep level, make us think and question, and trigger our emotions. Sometimes reality truly is stranger than any fiction. These 10 documentaries will expand your mind and stick with you.

10. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

Documentaries don’t come more heart-wrenching than Dear Zachary. To reveal anything about the plot would spoil the enjoyment. It was written directed and edited by the best friend of the protagonist Dr. Andrew Bagby. Prepare to feel a torrent of emotions from sadness to anger. This one might even diminish your faith in humanity.

9. The Great Hack (2019)

The Great Hack

Prepare to have your perception of the world completely changed. The Great Hack reveals the dark side of social media. The film centers around Cambridge Analytica, uncovering how their data-mining practices influenced the outcome of Brexit and helped win the 2016 presidential election. It shows how social media has made people commodities to be targeted by those with an agenda.

8. Fyre – The Greatest Party That Never Happened (2019)

Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

This documentary unravels the nightmare of what promised to be the luxury music event of the century – the Fyre Festival. The now-convicted organizer Billy McFarland fraudulently planned and promoted this would-be VIP music event to be held in the Bahamas. The mayhem plays out in real-time as attendees posted damning footage and images live from the festival across social media.

7. Inside Job (2010)

Inside Job
Sony Pictures Classics

Inside Job unveils the dark truth behind the 2008 financial crash and the Great Recession it unleashed as millions worldwide lost homes, savings, and livelihoods. The film meticulously peers inside the banking world, and features interviews from key players in the conspiracy. It plays like a thriller movie, but sadly, it’s all too real.

6. A Secret Love (2020)

A Secret Love
Ryan Murphy Productions

Secret Love is a sweet tale about two remarkable women, Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel, who had been madly in love since 1947. They had to hide this fact, not coming out to their families until their retirement years. The documentary delves into the history of prejudice toward LGBT couples and how they’ve had to hide their love.

5. Man on Wire (2008)

Man on Wire

Man on Wire focuses on Philippe Petit’s astounding 1974 highwire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. With the towers gone, it’s an act that can never be repeated. The film takes an inside look at Petit’s conspiracy and commitment to engage in the audacious artistic daredevil stunt, even as the towers were still being built.

4. The Act of Killing (2013)

The Act of Killing
Final Cut for Real

The Act of Killing focuses on the real-life horror of the Indonesian Genocide that led to nearly 1 million suspected communists being killed in the early 1960s. It’s a tough watch, given its terrifying, surreal, and disturbing content. This harrowing tale reminds one how truth is often stranger than anything fiction can imagine.


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3. Three Identical Strangers (2018)

Three Identical Strangers
CNN Films

Three Identical Strangers follows just that – three young men who, through a twist of fate, are brought together and have their lives turned upside down. This nail-biter takes a new twist every 30 minutes. By the end, it’s somewhere completely different than where it started. This will leave you questioning your sense of reality.

2. The Imposter (2012)

The Imposter
A&E Indie Films

In 1994, a fourteen-year-old Texas boy disappeared. The less you know in advance about this suspenseful and twisted tale, the better. Masterfully done, this film-style documentary includes interviews with the real people involved in the case, as well as reenactments. The imposter will leave you baffled, chilled, and totally surprised in the end.

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1. Tell Me Who I Am (2019)

Tell Me Who I Am

Alex Lewis woke up from a horrific accident with no memory of his life, family, or childhood. The story of his life is retold to him by his twin brother, Marcus. However, everything takes a major twist when a life-changing secret is uncovered. Tell Me Who I Am is an emotional thrill ride that’s both poignant and disturbing.

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