5 minute read

"Watch any good documentaries lately?"

Welcome back to another monthly installment of all the documentaries I've watched recently. March was a busy month with a lot of new, buzzy documentaries coming out, perhaps timed for Oscar nomination season. Similar to February, where I watched documentaries revolving around Black historical figures in honor of Black History Month, for March, I decided to focus entirely on films celebrating and honoring the stories of women for Women's History Month. Admittedly, some are easier to watch that others, and I should caution both Allen v. Farrow and Tina with a trigger warning for sexual assault material.  

  • Allen v. Farrow: A four-part series documenting the accusation of sexual abuse against Woody Allen involving Dylan, his then 7-year-old daughter with Mia Farrow; their subsequent custody trial, the revelation of Allen's relationship with Farrow's daughter, Soon-Yi; and the controversial aftermath in the years that followed. Available on HBO Max, 6.3/10 IMDb rating
    • Framing Britney Spears: People close to Britney Spears and lawyers tied to her conservatorship now reassess her phenomenal career and brutal downfall, as she battles her father in court over who should control her life. Available on Hulu, 6.9/10 IMDb rating
    • Tina: A revealing and intimate look at the life and career of musical icon Tina Turner, charting her improbable rise to early fame, her personal and professional struggles throughout her life and her resurgence as a global phenomenon in the 1980s. Available on HBO Max, 8.2/10 IMDb rating
    • And She Could Be Next: And She Could Be Next tells the story of a defiant movement of women of color, transforming politics from the ground up. The two-part series follows candidates and organizers across the country, asking whether democracy itself can be preserved—and made stronger—by those most marginalized. Available on Amazon
    • RBG: An intimate portrait of an unlikely rock star: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. With unprecedented access, the filmmakers explore how her early legal battles changed the world for women. Available on Hulu, 7.6/10 IMDb rating
    • Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning: Photographer Dorothea Lange had the ability to capture the human condition, most notably through her photo of the Migrant Mother, which continues to stand as a haunting symbol of the Great Depression. Available on Amazon,7.7/10 IMDb rating
    • Amazing Grace: In 1972, after a series of 11 consecuive hits, Aretha Franklin recorded `Amazing Grace,' the most successful gospel album of all time at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles. Available on Hulu, 7.5/10 IMDb rating
    • Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold: Actor and director Griffin Dunne uses a treasure trove of archival footage to chronicle Joan Didion's influential career. Available on Netflix, 7.4/10 IMDb rating
    • Unladylike 2020: Unsung Women who Changed America — Anna May Wong: Anna May Wong, the first Asian American female movie star, had a long and varied career spanning silent and sound film, stage, radio and television. Overcoming severe racism in an era when Asian protagonists in Hollywood movies were typically performed by white actors in yellow face, Wong starred in classics such as The Toll of the Sea, The Thief of Bagdad and Shanghai Express. Available on Amazon as part of a series
    • Major!: The experiences of a Black transgender woman as she recounts her life and the fight for human rights for people in her community. For over 40 years, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy has spoken openly about empowering transgender people. Available on Amazon, 8.2/10 IMDb rating
    • Dolores: Raising 11 children while wrestling with gender bias, union defeat and victory, and nearly dying after a San Francisco Police beating, Dolores Huerta bucks 1950s gender conventions to co-found the country's first farmworkers' union. Available on YouTube, 7.1/10 IMDb rating
    • Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution: Crip Camp starts in 1971 at Camp Jened, a summer camp in New York described as a "loose, free-spirited camp designed for teens with disabilities". Starring Larry Allison, Judith Heumann, James LeBrecht, Denise Sherer Jacobson, and Stephen Hofmann, the film focuses on those campers who turned themselves into activists for the disability rights movement and follows their fight for accessibility legislation. Executive producers include Barack and Michelle Obama and it's currently nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary.
    • Unladylike 2020: Unsung Women who Changed America — Tye Leung Schulze: Tye Leung Schulze resisted domestic servitude and an arranged child marriage to become an advocate for the rights of Asian immigrant victims of human trafficking in San Francisco. She became the first Chinese American woman to work for the federal government, as a translator at the Angel Island Immigration Station and the first Chinese American woman to vote in a US presidential election. Available on Amazon as part of a series.
    • Free Angela and All Political Prisoners: A documentary that chronicles the life of young college professor Angela Davis, and how her social activism implicates her in a botched kidnapping attempt that ends with a shootout, four dead, and her name on the FBI's 10 most wanted list. Available on Tubi, 7/10 IMDb rating
    • Gloria: In Her Own Words: Produced and directed by Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker Peter Kunhardt (HBO's JFK: In His Own Words and Teddy: In His Own Words), Gloria: In Her Own Words blends interviews of Steinem in her Manhattan apartment, archival footage, photographs from throughout her life and clips from press interviews over the years. Available on Amazon, 7.7/10 IMDb rating
    • Equal Means Equal: Filmmaker Kamala Lopez spearheads a national media campaign to raise awareness for the need for women's equality under Federal law. Available on Amazon, 6.3/10 IMDb rating
    • Audrey: Filmmaker Helena Coan examines the remarkable life and career of actress, fashion icon and humanitarian Audrey Hepburn. Available on Netflix, 7.2/10 IMDb rating
    • 20 Feet From Stardom: Filmmaker Morgan Neville shines a long-overdue spotlight on the hit-making contributions of longtime backup singers like Darlene Love and Merry Clayton. Available on Amazon, 7.4/10 IMDb rating

    Now tell me, what documentaries have you recently watched? Any favorites?