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The 25 Best Documentaries on Hulu to Stream Right Now

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Hulu

This exhaustive list of documentary films now available for your viewing pleasure will keep you occupied for some time. From adventure and romance to thrillers and killers, there’s a wide array of subject matters covered in Hulu’s current selection of documentaries, and here are the 25 best you should check out.

'Fyre Fraud'

There was once an event called Fyre Festival which was to have taken place early 2017 but that didn’t happen. The epitome of ‘epic fail’ transpired courtesy lack of planning on the part of the organizers to accommodate the audience they eventually attracted all the way on an island in the Bahamas. Listen to the con man behind this master of a con as well as victims and insiders on what happened. Comedy or crime? You decide.

'Jiro Dreams of Sushi'

An intimate peek into the lives of Jiro Ono, considered a master sushi legend by many, and his son who is heir to the small but mighty empire his father has built that has earned the understated 10-seat Tokyo eatery a 3-star Michelin review alongside fame and fond reviews from fans around the world. Even if you don’t enjoy sushi, this documentary reveals more to the art of sushi making than the painstaking years spent perfecting it. 

'Cartel Land'

A different take on the drug problems along the American and Mexican borders, this is an on-the-ground insider view of the work of two vigilante groups on each side that is fighting the notorious drug cartels in their own way. El Doctor and Nailer take you into an unseen world in this Sundance winner, where the lines between right and wrong blur as each group delivers its own version of justice in an ongoing battle.

'Free Solo'

Adrenaline rush guaranteed as you follow every breath and blink of solo free climber Alex Hannold as he makes his way up the 3,200-foot El Capitan Rock in Yosemite National Park—without any rope to break his fall. The documentary works its way to the final climb from ahead of time as he prepares for the feat, and the crew gears up to join him for the climb, fully aware of the possibility that one wrong move could mean the worst.

'Life Itself'

A poignant walk down memory lane celebrating the life and body of work of film critic and Pulitzer Prize-winner Roger Ebert who passed away in 2013. Hear from industry insiders and people closest to Ebert on the man behind the byline for some of the best movie reviews ever written. Includes a glimpse of his fight with cancer and resulting physical disability toward the end. A must watch for movie lovers everywhere. 

'Crime and Punishment'

A documentary about the legal system that turns the cameras around on the law itself and the victims within the corrupt system fighting for change. Black and Latino police in New York City’s Police Department are the inspiration behind this historic class-action lawsuit that brought attention to unfair and illegal policing amidst minority populations. Known as the NYPD12, they not only exposed wrongdoing but also shed light on a broken system. 

'Jane'

Jane Goodall’s name is synonymous with primate research and this 2017 documentary seeks to take a deeper look at the enigma that brought us closer to understanding chimpanzees and their behavior. Her scientific research over the past few decades has contributed tremendously to animal conservation in particular and protection of our natural world overall. Get a behind the scenes look of more than 100 hours of footage in this National Geographic film.  

'RBG'

Powerhouse lawyer and popular icon Ruth Bader Ginsberg is the subject of this tasteful tribute to her legacy of paving the way for women’s rights, gender equality and civil liberties as she quietly charted her course to the highest court in the United States. Now well into her 80s and despite several bouts of ill-health, her sharp wit and strong stances render her a force to reckon with. Peruse her life and work in this visual biography.

'Minding the Gap'

More than a decade of footage goes into shaping the narrative of this film that former U.S. President Barack Obama listed as one of his favorites for 2018. What appears on the surface to be a simple exploration of the bond between three boys with a love for skateboarding translates to a lot more than that. Addressing class, race, masculinity, relationships, and more, this is a powerful take on society and identity.   

'Whose Streets?'

One defining moment in history, one shocking act of violence, brings to the surface decades of underlying tension and an unprecedented community uprising in the fight for justice. The death of an unarmed teenager at the hands of the police was the last resort for the people that came together in what became a global movement for the right to live. The tragedy united activists, leaders, and everyday civilians in what we now call the Ferguson Uprising.  

'Apollo 11'

No matter how many movies are made about it, the landing on the moon will remain an awe-inspiring moment in history for as long as we live and beyond. Journey back via archival footage and snapshots of that first mission to the moon, from just before launch till after the team safely lands back on Earth. The documentary commemorates the 50thanniversary of the mission and includes never-before-seen NASA footage of the event that brought the world together as one.

'The Cage Fighter'

Shadow the life of a mixed martial arts fighter as he heads back into the ring for another bout with the sport, this time as a father of four trying to maintain his match with a new crew of younger talent while also coming to terms with mounting health issues. The filmmaker gets direct access to the family at all times giving viewers an inside take on the demons they all have to battle with way from the ring as well.

'Three Identical Strangers'

Think of all the movies about children separated at birth. Then realize that for some that story is real life and they live it. Three strangers discover in their late teens that they were triplets that were separated at birth and celebrate their paths crossing. But the more they delve into the past to understand what occurred, the deeper they dig into the sinister circumstances of their separation–an undisclosed scientific study on genetically identical siblings.

'Honeyland'

The importance of balance and imbalance could not be portrayed any more effectively than through this visually stunning expression of both the power and the vulnerability of nature. One of the last practitioners of ancient wild bee keeping traditions living in a remote region in Macedonia is the subject of this film that addresses several larger environmental topics while also narrating the trials of the individuals involved. 

'The Beatles: Eight Days a Week'

Can never really get enough of the Fab four and Beatlemania so here’s a documentary to satiate that yearning for the music of the ‘60s and the boy band that still has us moved with nostalgia every time one of their tunes plays. Newly found footage, video, archival material all share what went on with the band members on and off the stage as they toured the world contributing to the global cultural phenomenon they continue to be to this day.

'School Life'

An observational documentary on the last remaining boarding school for primary education in Ireland. A feel-good story of the couple that managed the institution in their own way and built a fortress of learning behind the Hogwarts-style structure. A place where you might want to enroll yourself if you could, but too late. They closed last month and now this movie remains an ode to its glory days.  

'Hillary'

This Hulu original offers an intimate look at Hillary Rodham Clinton and her 2016 presidential campaign, featuring interviews with husband Bill and daughter Chelsea as well as several friends and journalists. The four episodes cover her time as the First Lady of Arkansas and then the United States, and then as a senator and presidential nominee, while she is recognized as a female icon globally.

'Love, Gilda'

Previously unseen footage and material from journals are the crux of this sometimes joyful, sometimes tearful homage to comic Gilda Radner, whom many know from her time on Saturday Night Live and the many memorable characters she created while there. Told in her own words, trace her childhood, comedic career, professional and personal relationships, and fight with cancer via personal audio and video tapes.  

'Iris'

Be inspired by the 98-year-old fashion maven and global ‘accidental icon’ that is Iris Apfel whom you will get to know even better thanks to this fantastic documentary that sheds light on her creativity and zest for style, art, people and life itself. Bringing her own sense of glamour to the New York cultural scene for decades, she was signed on as a model last year with the International Management Group.

'Shut up and Play the Hits'

Music lovers can revel in this poetic sojourn that reflects on the creations of rock band LCD Soundsystem and the run up to their grand finale at Madison Square Garden before disbanding at the height of their fame and popularity in 2011. The band ultimately regrouped in 2015 but the documentary addresses just the 48-hour window around the epic ‘last’ show and frontman James Murphy’s decision to quit while still at the top.

'Ballet 422'

Head backstage with the New York City Ballet and learn the ins and outs of crafting a new piece with a young choreographer in his 20s. The first time such access has been allowed to the inner workings of the artistic behemoth. If you ever wondered what it took to be part of a professional ballet team then here’s your chance. And the 422? This is the 422nd original piece created for NYCB. Gives you renewed appreciation for the art form.

'Dina'

This Sundance grand jury prize-winner is the sweet romance you need right now. Starring, as the title suggests, Dina, her boyfriend Scott, their families, and the lives they are bringing together as they plan for their wedding. But Scott has Asperger Syndrome and Dina brings her own fair share of mental disabilities to the table, recovering from past relationships that didn’t all end well. A special love story with its own moving twists.

'The Queen of Versailles'

All the riches in the world may not necessarily be the answer to your troubles as this documentary proves when it opens the curtains to the lives of a billionaire couple that are planning to build a monumental home inspired by the Palace of Versailles but cannot follow through to fruition when the 2008 recession hits and their luxurious lifestyle comes to a screeching halt. Watch to see what transpires next. 

'Zero Days'

In most cases, going above and beyond in your efforts is considered a good virtue. But not when that applies to self-replicating malware that does more than it was intended to. For any nonbelievers to the fact that cyberwarfare exists, this documentary will lay to rest any doubts. The closest you will get to hearing how politics, technology and cyberspace intersect, and not necessarily bearing the best results.  

'Page One: Inside the New York Times'

A deep dive into the belly of the media giant that is The New York Times newsroom right at the cusp of digital overtaking print as the primary source of news. The filmmaker follows journalists from the paper for a year during this transformative phase where changes bring along both apprehension and opportunity. In a way, a lead into a topic we still grapple with today, of how print journalism can sustain itself.

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