The old saying “truth is stranger than fiction” certainly applies to documentary films. Who needs actors or a writer with a hyperactive imagination when the world teems with everyday people, each with a riveting story to tell?
Here are five from Netflix’s extensive array of documentary picks. All from the religious and spiritual category, they are informative, absorbing, and keep us on the edge of our seats—just like a blockbuster film. (Read: 3 Compelling Documentaries About the Lives of Pinoy Workers)
Documentaries on Netflix: One of Us (2017)
What happens when you leave your religious sect, the only one you’ve known all your life? Three former members of the ultra-Orthodox Hasidic community share the freedom and struggles that come with this life-changing decision. If the 95-minute film has you hooked, catch Unorthodox, a limited series also from Netflix, based on Deborah Feldman’s memoir of renouncing her Hasidic roots.
Documentaries on Netflix: The Keepers (2017)
In the murder of English and drama teacher Sr. Cathy Cesnik in November 1969, Fr. Joseph Maskell is a likely suspect. The priest was charged with allegedly molesting students in the Baltimore high school for girls where he and Sr. Cathy worked, and the nun was set to report the crime. Each of the seven episodes of this limited documentary series runs for about an hour.
Documentaries on Netflix: The Family (2019)
Who is this Christian group called The Family (aka The Fellowship) and why does it wield so much influence in America’s political arena? The five-episode limited series attempts to expose the people and agendas behind this powerful organization whose mission “is to provide a fellowship forum for decision makers to share in Bible studies, prayer meetings, worship of God, and to experience spiritual affirmation and support.”
Documentaries on Netflix: Examination of Conscience (2019)
Survivors of sexual abuse in Spain’s Catholic institutions come forward to confront the demons of their past in this three-episode crime documentary series.
Documentaries on Netflix: From Victoria Street to Ang Mo Kio (2019)
See the world through the eyes of two students enrolled in a Catholic Chinese girls’ school in Singapore circa 1950s. The 75-minute documentary was commissioned to commemorate the school’s 85th anniversary.