News

10 Great 2019 Documentaries To Watch Now (Or Very Soon)

Celebrate Anton Yelchin, salute the dark lord Satan, and take a journey across the world's wildest seas in these critically acclaimed docs.

by | June 14, 2019 | Comments

With the sweaty season in full swing, most of us are gearing up for our summer habits: Curling up with the latest paperback, bingeing that show that everyone has been talking about, or hitting the movie theater for some blockbuster action. But for many, summer also means catching up with or checking in on great documentaries. At home and in theaters, summer always boasts a fresh crop of gripping true-to-life stories to keep us entertained.

To help you narrow down your choices, we’ve put together a list of some our favorite Fresh and Certified Fresh docs that you can stream today or catch in theaters now or very soon. From socially conscious documentaries to harrowing retrospectives on historic events – with dynamic subjects like Aretha Franklin, Anton Yelchin, Beto O’Rourke, and disgraced Silicon Valley CEO Elizabeth Holmes – we have you covered with our list of the some of the buzziest true-life feature films of the year so far, and where to watch them.


Stream it: Apollo 11 (2019) 99%

Unprecedented access to unreleased audio from the Apollo 11 space mission gave director Todd Douglas Miller a whole new avenue to craft a unique story about well-known events. Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, this reconstruction of humanity’s first successful trip to the moon uses archival footage to completely enthrall the audiences. Expect the movie, which is one of the best-reviewed films of the year, to be a big contender in Documentary categories come awards season.

Critics Consensus: Edifying and inspiring in equal measure, Apollo 11 uses artfully repurposed archival footage to send audiences soaring back to a pivotal time in American history.

Where to watch it: Stream it now on, FandangoNowAmazonVuduGoogle.


Stream it: Knock Down the House (2019) 100%

What it is: When documentarian Rachel Lears started filming Knock Down the House, she was solely interested in documenting four progressive Democrats who had challenged incumbents. Each faced tough odds, but no one could predict that one of the film’s subjects, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, would become one of the most talked about politicians in the legislature. The film documents AOC’s road to the ballot box alongside Amy Vilela of Nevada, Cori Bush of Missouri, and Paula Jean Swearengin of West Virginia.

Critics Consensus: A galvanizing glimpse behind the scenes of a pivotal election, Knock Down the House should prove engrossing for viewers of all political persuasions.

Where to watch it: Stream it on Netflix.


Stream it soon: Amazing Grace (2019) 99%

What it is: The late Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, was in a decades-long legal battle with the man behind the concert doc Amazing Grace. Originally intended for release by Warner Bros. in 1972, director Alan Elliott’s film was long delayed as he spent time trying to find lost footage and fend off legal challenges from Franklin. Though never publicly stated, Elliott maintains the soul singer’s suit and objections were just a negotiating tactic. After the singer’s death, her estate reached an agreement with Elliott and Amazing Grace was cleared to premiere in 2018. Shot by late director Sydney Pollack and reassembled by Elliott, the feature lives as the only video documentation of one of the best-selling gospel albums in history and an enduring tribute to the late singer at the height of her power.  

Critics Consensus: Brilliantly capturing a remarkable performer near the peak of her prodigious power, Amazing Grace is a thrilling must-watch documentary for Aretha Franklin fans.

Where to watch it: Currently in limited release. Available for digital download or on Blu-Ray and DVD August 6.


Stream It: Running with Beto (2019) 95%

What it is: Regardless of your political leanings, Running with Beto is a highly entertaining and intimate look at a candidate running against political convention. A Democrat has not won a statewide election in Texas for over 25 years, but with a millennial-friendly social media strategy and old-fashioned grassroots campaigning Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke made a serious run against incumbent Senator Ted Cruz. Running With Beto captures the drama of the campaign.

Critics Consensus: Candid and compelling, Running with Beto is an illuminating exploration of an up-and-coming politician and the changing political landscape around him.

Where to watch it: Watch on HBO or HBONow.


In theaters: Pavarotti (2019) 87%

What it is: In the age  ofInstagram celebs it’s hard to believe that at one time – for several decades in fact – one of the biggest stars in the world was an opera singer. Luciano Pavarotti transcended the opera singer stereotype to become a bona fide A-list celebrity and live a fascinating life. Handled by a rock-and-roll manager, Pavarotti lived the life of a hard-rock frontman and documented much of what happened. Director Ron Howard was given access to the late singer’s home movies and – for the first time – given permission to interview Pavarotti’s wives, children, and closest friends.

Critics Consensus: Pavarotti pays entertaining tribute to a towering cultural figure with a documentary whose evident affection for its subject proves contagious.

Where to watch it: Currently in limited theatrical release.


In theaters: The Biggest Little Farm (2019) 91% 

What it is: When a noise complaint about their dog got them evicted them from their apartments, filmmaker John Chester and his chef wife Molly Chester bet it all on ‘The Farm.’ The revolutionary organic farm they created is actually a return to noncommercial farming techniques, and the trials and tribulations of achieving it are the focus of this documentary, which spans the course of seven years. A perfect watch if you’re looking for inspiration for your own veggie patch.

Critics Consensus: Uplifting, educational, and entertaining, The Biggest Little Farm is an environmental advocacy documentary with a satisfying side dish of hope for the future.

Where to watch it: Currently in limited theatrical release.


Coming soon: Maiden (2019) 98% 

What it is: The tale of Tracy Edwards, a 24-year-old cook turned skipper for the first all-female crew to sail around the world, is one so incredible it sounds like a work of fiction. In truth, tired of being dismissed and passed over because of her gender, Edwards took on the male-dominated sailing competition Whitbread Round the World with her historic team entry. Following the formation of the crew and every battle they fought just to compete, this is one of the most rousing feelgood stories of the summer.

Where to watch it: In limited release June 28.


Stream it: The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (2019) 78% 

What it is: Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced former CEO and founder of blood-testing startup Theranos, is another one of those figures destined to inspire hours of entertainment. She’s the subject of several books, countless articles, and an upcoming feature film with Jennifer Lawrence attached, and The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley is the latest to feature the poster child for everything wrong with the tech industry and icon idolatry. Chronicled by Going Clear documentarian Alex Gibney, Stanford dropout Holmes was obsessed with Apple CEO Steve Jobs and molded herself in his image, crafting a house-of-cards empire built largely on hero worship and aggressive PR without having ever achieved actual success.

Critics Consensus: Alex Gibney’s The Inventor declines to outright condemn the actions by Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, but instead provides a comprehensive overview of the scandal that allows viewers to mull over its implications towards the broader Silicon Valley

Where to watch it: Watch on HBO or HBONow.


Coming Soon: Love, Antosha (2019) 96% 

What it is: Actor Anton Yelchin was an artist that defied categorization. The star of blockbuster films like Star Trek, Terminator: Salvation, and The Smurfs and beloved indies like Green Room, Like Crazy, and Odd Thomas, Yelchin was a cinematic chameleon. The documentary gives us a peek inside the enigmatic actor’s life and his tragic death at the age 27. Editor Turned director Garret Price conducted interviews with Yelchin’s family and friends, including Chris Pine, JJ Abrams, Nicolas Cage, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Simon Pegg.

Where to watch it: In limited theaters August 2.


Coming Soon: Hail Satan? (2019) 96% 

What it is: Satanism takes center stage in the hilarious documentary Hail Satan?. The movie chronicles the satanic temple’s fight in deeply Christian Arkansas and forces audiences to reconsider the sect religion that is so often a punchline. After only 30 minutes of Hail Satan?, you’ll begin to question if the group is in fact comprised of assumed weirdo outcasts or something more like patriots.

Critics Consensus: Hail Satan? challenges preconceived notions of its subject with a smart, witty, and overall entertaining dispatch from the front lines of the fight for social justice.

Where to watch it: Available for digital download or on Blu-Ray and DVD July 23.


Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

elevated horror 2016 psychological thriller Vudu 71st Emmy Awards what to watch Mystery NYCC YouTube Premium anime MSNBC sag awards zombies harry potter Star Trek TV renewals CNN adaptation Food Network jamie lee curtis Country TLC History Esquire Musicals The CW directors Superheroe ghosts The Witch PBS Adult Swim crime drama See It Skip It Paramount SDCC DGA toy story natural history Netflix video adventure stand-up comedy movies dragons Comedy Apple TV+ Holiday historical drama X-Men christmas movies Extras 45 APB ITV Tubi tv talk TNT miniseries Comic Book 24 frames TBS Super Bowl BET Music Star Wars Spectrum Originals 2015 Masterpiece OWN E3 quibi cancelled TV shows Reality Competition dceu halloween Captain marvel Television Academy Tomatazos zero dark thirty Musical Winners Sundance TV Red Carpet Year in Review space cops Britbox Cannes Acorn TV foreign A24 TruTV Peacock Lifetime Christmas movies cooking A&E Emmys Western independent sitcom Amazon casting MTV war Black Mirror Set visit BBC America composers PaleyFest DC streaming service AMC documentary Hallmark science fiction Bravo Rock Opinion sequel aliens Podcast romantic comedy Dark Horse Comics richard e. Grant GLAAD FXX breaking bad SundanceTV Writers Guild of America The Purge Mary poppins period drama Ghostbusters Hulu batman Starz Ellie Kemper cancelled television Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Sci-Fi Box Office Anna Paquin festivals Countdown kids nature Nickelodeon renewed TV shows Rocky Lifetime Disney streaming service Trivia Trophy Talk FX Kids & Family green book Winter TV Spring TV Sundance cinemax cartoon OneApp crossover screenings based on movie Pirates GoT Emmy Nominations Horror DirecTV zombie mutant Holidays true crime Binge Guide golden globes indie revenge Warner Bros. free movies Showtime technology Marathons disaster Pixar 20th Century Fox Infographic slashers witnail Superheroes Sony Pictures Animation Marvel Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt TIFF finale Shudder travel BBC Thanksgiving Schedule TCA Winter 2020 The Arrangement New York Comic Con canceled TV shows Columbia Pictures crime thriller cars IFC blockbuster singing competition RT History DC Comics Academy Awards theme song Stephen King Certified Fresh Action spinoff RT21 biography Comedy Central Turner El Rey diversity crime Film Festival name the review VH1 2017 CBS All Access supernatural Premiere Dates TCA political drama Cartoon Network talk show Creative Arts Emmys FOX dramedy Netflix Christmas movies ABC south america Film YouTube TV Land binge Mary Tyler Moore MCU CW Seed Photos animated YouTube Red game of thrones rotten movies we love doctor who Polls and Games comiccon Election Spike Elton John Endgame cancelled TV series Interview Video Games Crackle Mindy Kaling Teen Pet Sematary HBO Reality Quiz HBO Max Amazon Prime spain spider-man Classic Film VICE strong female leads hist television vampires romance Pop Epix sports E! Summer Character Guide Pride Month children's TV versus Biopics Disney Logo Hallmark Christmas movies Christmas Watching Series Mudbound cancelled San Diego Comic-Con latino Arrowverse YA medical drama docudrama President LGBT psycho USA CBS comics Nominations cults TV Comics on TV serial killer 007 series DC Universe Disney Channel Tumblr Avengers Rocketman transformers social media politics dc Heroines Chernobyl Apple blaxploitation Apple TV Plus spy thriller Tarantino Mary Poppins Returns Toys canceled Women's History Month game show Fantasy The Walking Dead unscripted justice league Calendar mockumentary Martial Arts police drama joker Rom-Com ABC Family First Reviews 2020 IFC Films Valentine's Day teaser Baby Yoda National Geographic Fox News CMT Marvel Studios Syfy facebook Lucasfilm Trailer thriller comic First Look TCA 2017 reboot USA Network Awards Tour robots GIFs 2018 werewolf Freeform NBC streaming Best and Worst Sundance Now Crunchyroll discovery Lionsgate Shondaland Marvel Television Disney+ Disney Plus Universal ratings boxoffice WarnerMedia Oscars Drama 2019 Cosplay anthology ESPN spanish language WGN Nat Geo Grammys Paramount Network screen actors guild Discovery Channel SXSW award winner Brie Larson Fall TV Family Amazon Prime Video American Society of Cinematographers Ovation Disney Plus 21st Century Fox Turner Classic Movies hispanic Awards Walt Disney Pictures book Song of Ice and Fire TCM cats Sneak Peek LGBTQ