The 13 Best Docs Of 2017 So Far Will Change How You View The World

Ad failed to load

It's doubtful that documentary filmmaking will ever go bust, if only because our culture continues to demand that everything we do is recorded and shared with the world. Capturing the previously unseen slices of humanity means we grapple with different issues, be it social, political, economic, historic, criminal, celebratory, and so forth. In 2017, some of the best documentaries that have premiered have fallen into these categories — and so many others — and have once again sought to fundamentally change how we, the audience, view the world around us.

Perhaps because they are influenced by the nature of the times that we live in or as a reaction to them, some of the best documentaries to have come out this year are related to health care, war, the freedom of the press and of speech, and America's treatment of its black citizens. It's tough to watch each of these documentaries if only because it's likely that you will find a way to relate to one, if not multiple, stories being told here. The issues are applicable to our daily lives, they are unflinching in their honesty, and they are all deeply human stories — as is often the case with the best documentaries being made today.

1. Nobody Speak

Netflix on YouTube
Ad failed to load

Tackling free speech, the current relationship between media and public trust, Nobody Speak starts with Terry Bollea's (aka wrestler Hulk Hogan) defamation lawsuit against Gawker before spinning out to uncover how the rights of a free press are currently under attack.

2. Casting Jon Benet

Netflix on YouTube
Ad failed to load

Using dramatic reenactments and talking head interviews with residents of Denver who witnessed the JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation unfold from the sidelines, Casting JonBenet is perhaps even more haunting by the sheer fact that its made clear the legacy of this crime still casts a long shadow in the lives of the people tied to it.

3. Whose Streets?

Movieclips Film Festivals & Indie Films on YouTube
Ad failed to load

Following the murder of teenager Mike Brown and the movement his murder sparked on the streets of L.A., Whose Streets? is as timely as it is gripping and necessary.

4. An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power

Paramount Pictures on YouTube
Ad failed to load

Al Gore returns with another Inconvenient Truth installment. Climate change is still on the table, but Gore is catching us up with the progress (and recession) we've made as a country and as a global community since the first film came out.

5. Gaga: Five Foot Two

Netflix on YouTube
Ad failed to load

Lady Gaga has been on one heck of a personal journey over the last few years, with highs and lows that include performing at the Super Bowl, releasing a new album, breaking off an engagement, and being diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Five Foot Two tracks those years and those events, along with plenty of other, giving us a more intense insider look at one of pop music's foremost artists.

6. The Death And Life Of Marsha P. Johnson

Netflix on YouTube
Ad failed to load

LGBTQ icon, activist, and trans woman Marsha P. Johnson gets a fittingly thorough tribute in the documentary on her life, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson.

7. I Am Heath Ledger

SPIKE on YouTube
Ad failed to load

The life of the brilliant and Oscar-winning actor Heath Ledger is remembered in I Am Heath Ledger. Interviews with friends, family, and co-stars seeks to highlight Ledger's artistic brilliance and unique approach to life in this unforgettable and intimate portrait.

8. What The Health

What The Health on YouTube
Ad failed to load

Taking aim squarely at the ways in which Americans produce their meat, dairy, and other animal byproducts, What The Health is the next doc in a recent trend of docs that focuses on examining just how faulty our nation's approach to nutrition and health really is.

9. Get Me Roger Stone

Netflix on YouTube
Ad failed to load

Roger Stone is the puppet master behind some of the most infamous political campaigns of the 20th and 21st century. With fingerprints on the political careers of men like Richard Nixon and President Donald Trump, Stone's influence has shaped modern political discourse and turned him into an infamous figure.

10. Time: The Kalief Browder Story

SPIKE on YouTube
Ad failed to load

Things go from bad to worse for New York City resident Kalief Browder, who is wrongfully arrested and interrogated in connection with a robbery. This Jay-Z-produced documentary uncovers Browder's story and how a case of mistaken identity irrevocably changed the life of one innocent black man to tragic results.

11. The Keepers

Netflix on YouTube
Ad failed to load

This harrowing documentary series, which is available to stream on Netflix, uses the 1969 murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik as the entry point into the dark history of sexual abuse at a Baltimore-area Catholic school. The series and the stories emanating from it will haunt you as much as they will open your eyes.

12. Strong Island

Netflix on YouTube
Ad failed to load

A heartbreaking story is told in Strong Island as documentarian Yance Ford interviews family, friends, and others in connection to the killing of her brother and the legal proceedings that let his killer walk free.

13. City Of Ghosts

Amazon Studios on YouTube
Ad failed to load

This eye-opening documentary focuses on the citizens of the city of Raqqa in the present day who are not only trying to survive in their crumbling, war-torn city, but bring it back from the brink of destruction. This doc follows a group of young journalists who are actively chasing down the answers on how to rehabilitate their dying city and defeat that powers at large who are attempting to silence them.

These docs are essential viewing.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Here's Where Your Next Trip Should Be, Based On Your Zodiac Sign

If you've been craving a vacation, now is a good time to take the plunge. According to data collected by travel site Expedia, late winters and early spring are pretty much the best times of the year to go on vacation. Based on average airfare ticket …
By Callie Tansill-Suddath

Bustle's Editors On Jennifer Aniston + Adam Rippon

We've made it to Friday! It's been a pretty hectic week, and the news that Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux are splitting up might have put a damper on your weekend. But, if like many people you have Monday off, hopefully you can sit back and enjo…
By Rachel Simon

This Timeline Of Justin Theroux & Jennifer Aniston's Relationship Will Break Your Heart All Over Again

Just one day after Valentine's Day, actors Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux announced their breakup after seven years together. The celebrity couple, who were married for two-and-half years, separated quietly at the end of last year. This week, th…
By Priscilla Totiyapungprasert

19 Things Your Parents Told You Were Illegal In The '90s

Kids say — and think — the darnedest things. We have overactive imaginations, adults like to mess with us, and we don't always understand everything we hear. That's why some kids call strawberries "straw babies" — a boo-boo so adorable, you don't eve…
By Megan Grant

Why Uggs Are Never Going Away, Whether You Like Them Or Not

Uggs. The word alone can conjure up memories of teenage years, regrettable outfits, and undeniable comfort. But if, like me, you thought that you've already said goodbye to those fleece-lined tan boots, you can think again. It seems fashion has adopt…
By Lauren Sharkey

I Never Want To Write This Essay Again

I don't know where you were when you heard about Wednesday's high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. I don't know what you were doing, or how you tried to process the news. I do know this: you thought to yourself, not again. And yet, again. Of cou…
By Jenny Hollander

Netflix's New Romantic Movie Will Have You Crying Like It's 'The Fault In Our Stars'

Cancer movies are a heartbreaking staple of Hollywood and have been for decades. It's almost a law of nature: new year, new cancer movie. This year, it's Netflix's Irreplaceable You, a heartbreaking original about a longtime couple who get thrown for…
By Olivia Truffaut-Wong

A Study Suggests Drinking Soda Can Affect Your Fertility — But Don’t Freak Out Just Yet

An awful lot of things can affect fecundability — that is, the probability of conceiving within a single menstrual cycle — but can soda really decrease your chances of getting pregnant? A new study suggests that it might, although it turns out that t…
By Lucia Peters

Here Are All The Terms You Need To Know If You’re Watching Olympic Ski Events Right Now

Every four years the Winter Olympics rolls around to remind me that A) there are so many important Winter Olympic sports, and B) I know virtually nothing any of them. And I know for a fact, I'm not alone, I bet most people don't know what the differe…
By Danielle Colin-Thome

Money Actually CAN Buy Happiness — And Science Figured Out Exactly How Much It Costs

You’ve probably heard the saying “Money can’t buy happiness.” Personally, I’d be more than willing to test out that hypothesis myself, but researchers at Purdue University beat me to it. Researchers found that there is an actual amount of money it ta…
By Katie Mitchell

Kate Middleton Made Sales Of This $1 Secret Accessory Spike & She'll Turn You Into A Believer

There's a royal epidemic going on, people. It's one that causes any and everyone to obsess over the royal family's wardrobe and beauty routines, even if it means breaking the bank to look like them. So a frenzy was expected when Kate Middleton report…
By Summer Arlexis

Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu Have Matching Tattoos & The Story Is So Cute

Olympic season gives people the feels. From those shipping Canadian ice dancing pair Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir to Shaun White's gold medal win on Tuesday, the feels are real. Now, there's another reason to get all up in your emotions. Adam Rippon a…
By Shea Simmons

A New Study Says Being In A Relationship Could Change Your Taste In Wine — Here's How

I’d be willing to bet that for many of you, a nice bottle of wine is awaiting you in your near future — and if you’re planning on sharing that bottle with a partner, there might be more to your choice than meets the eye: According to recent research,…
By Lucia Peters

Carrie Brownstein On Why Even The Obama Era Should Have Enraged You

An icy January morning soon after Hollywood's show of solidarity for the #MeToo movement at the Golden Globes and almost exactly one year into the Trump Administration feels like a momentous time to be sitting across from Carrie Brownstein. The Sleat…
By Samantha Rollins

Here’s What The Upcoming Year Of The Dog Means For Your Chinese Zodiac Sign

On Feb. 16 the world will celebrate the Chinese New Year, welcoming the Year of the Dog in like the good doggo it is — we hope. A new year means new zodiac predictions for the 365 days ahead. So, what does the Year of the Dog mean for your Chinese zo…
By Brittany Bennett

7 Signs You're Ready To Get Into A Relationship, According To Experts

It can be difficult to tell when you're ready to start dating again. Maybe you're coming off of a bad breakup, maybe you've just been focused on other things. And, ironically, one of the signs that you're ready to be in a relationship is that you're …
By Lea Rose Emery

I Got A Breast Reduction & It Was About So Much More Than The Size Of My Boobs

As a young teenager, I pretty much reached peak physical maturity overnight. One day I was wearing my first training bra a la Lizzie McGuire, and the next I was sweatily fumbling around a Victoria’s Secret with 32DD boobs, trying to summon up the cou…
By Sierra Taylor Horton

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
via Romper

The 15 Best Fiction Books Of February Feature Tons Of Extraordinary Women

When the cold winds of February blow in, there's nothing I want more than to hide under my covers with a good book. Luckily, there's more than a few fantastic new fiction books coming out this month, so the only tough decision you'll have to make is …
By Melissa Ragsdale

These 10 Drugstore Red Lipsticks Are Under $10 & Actually *Amazing*

I adore makeup. There are few things I like more than getting myself fancied up in the mornings. It's a little ritual I get to do every day that makes me feel prettier and more put together. When my makeup is on, I'm ready to face the world — pun int…
via Romper

17 Moms Reveal The Most Disgusting Part Of Their Pregnancy

Pregnant bodies do weird-ass things. Weird-ass, gross things. I mean, my pregnant body did (twice), and I have long-suspected I'm not alone. So I asked other moms to share the most disgusting part of their pregnancy and I learned that, not only am I …
via Romper