It’s a new year, and that means new content is coming to your favorite streaming service. For Hulu, that means a ton of new movies, including some in the documentary category. Viewers will have to wait a few weeks for the best new entry of the month, however, which comes courtesy of a one-man Off-Broadway magic show.
To help you find a documentary to watch on Hulu, we created a list of the best documentaries available on the streaming service.
Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself (2020)
Hulu’s biggest new documentary entry for January is unique in and of itself. Directed by Frank Oz, the movie is essentially a filmed version of Derek DelGaudio’s one-man illusionist show, which ran Off-Broadway for an incredible 72 weeks. DelGaudio has won numerous awards and has worked with the likes of Disney and TruTV. This movie, however, will likely be his biggest exposure to a national audience yet. The film takes a more existential path than just a simple show of illusions, creating a more impactful story. It helps having the backing of big names like Stephen Colbert and Frank Oz. Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself arrives to Hulu on January 22.
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A
Star: Derek DelGaudio
Director: Frank Oz
Runtime: 90 minutes
Framing John DeLorean (2019)
The story of John DeLorean is shocking and provocative: An auto magnate caught up in his own quest for power and profit. The best way to tell the outlandish tale is through a quasi-documentary style, complete with reenactments that create a more visceral connection to the events. DeLorean is played by Alec Baldwin with flair and pizazz, yet the movie also features behind-the-scenes footage of the documentary being prepared and filmed, making the movie fold in on itself. Perhaps that’s the most fitting way to talk about a man who made international headlines at the height of his career when he was charged with trafficking cocaine by the American government.
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Stars: Alec Baldwin, Morena Baccarin
Directors: Sheena M. Joyce, Don Argott
Runtime: 109 minutes
You Cannot Kill David Arquette (2020)
Thankfully, nobody actually wants to murder the Scream actor. But David Arquette is trying to resurrect his professional wrestling career, which stalled around the turn of the century. Despite pushing 50 years old, Arquette is determined to get back into the business, even if it comes at the expense of his physical health and the emotional expense of his family, who care about Arquette too much to want him risking life and limb. Arquette is portrayed as an underdog for his wrestling comeback story, though his Hollywood success may not quite make him as sympathetic of a character as the movie portends. You Cannot Kill David Arquette made its Hulu debut on December 22.
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Star: David Arquette
Directors: David Darg, Price James
Runtime: 90 minutes
I Am Greta (2020)
There are a number of existential crises facing the world right now, one just as dire as the next. The effects of climate change are particularly dangerous, with the warming of the Earth already creating massive consequences, both for now and the future. Stepping into a void of notable public figures tackling the crisis is Greta Thunberg, an 18-year-old from Sweden who has spent the past couple of years demanding action, both in public forums and in private conversations with major politicians. I Am Greta follows the passionate activist closely, from her school strikes to her famous UN speech. Debuting at the Venice Film Festival in September, I Am Greta received its wide release exclusively on Hulu on November 13.
Rotten Tomatoes: 78%
Star: Greta Thunberg
Director: Nathan Grossman
Runtime: 102 minutes
Slay the Dragon (2019)
Contrary to the title, this is not a documentary about killing fire-breathing monsters before they wreak havoc on small island villages. Instead, it tackles the topic of gerrymandering, which is not necessarily exciting to all, but it should be vital to everyone. The practice of resetting district boundaries to artificially impact election results is viewed as a dire topic by the filmmakers, who see it as a path towards eroding democracy and keeping those in power entrenched in their positions. In the wake of a contentious election, there may be no more important political documentary to watch than Slay the Dragon.
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Stars: Stephen Wolf, Rick Pluta, Charles Williams II
Directors: Chris Durrance, Barak Goodman
Runtime: 101 minutes
Minding the Gap (2018)
Skateboarding may not strike everyone as the most fascinating prism to view life through, but those people haven’t seen Minding the Gap. Bing Liu spends the movie documenting the lives of his skateboarding friends, Keire and Zack. The stories of all have tragic elements, with Zack trapped in a vicious cycle of abuse and struggling in a contentious relationship with a child involved. Meanwhile, Keire is trying to find a way to leave Illinois and move to Denver to better himself and start on the next chapter of his life. The film is understated and nuanced, finding ways to constantly connect with an audience. The movie was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 91st Academy Awards.
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Stars: Keire Johnson, Zack Mulligan, Bing Liu
Director: Bing Liu
Runtime: 100 minutes
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was one of the most famous Supreme Court justices of all time, serving on the bench through a series of medical hardships prior to her passing in September. Members of the Supreme Court are notoriously private, but RBG gives a great behind-the-scenes look at how Ginsburg elevated her status in American lore. RBG dives into all of the obstacles Ginsburg had to overcome in her career, including rampant gender bias, but it also allows audiences to see a side of the justice previously obscured, including her embrace of the Notorious RBG moniker. Nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards, RBG remains one of the most important political documentaries in recent years.
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Stars: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Bill Clinton, Gloria Steinem
Directors: Julie Cohen, Betsy West
Runtime: 98 minutes
Three Identical Strangers (2018)
Imagine discovering you have a twin brother you never knew about. Now, imagine discovering you’re actually part of a set of triplets. That unbelievable discovery forms the basis for Three Identical Strangers, detailing how Edward Galland, David Kellman, and Robert Shafran came to discover each other by chance after growing up in separate adopted families. Their reunion led to a rise in fame and popularity, but it also brought questions about how they became separated in the first place, adding a sinister and sad element as each brother battles mental health problems. It’s the ultimate “nature vs. nurture” debate, played out in real life before our very own eyes.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Stars: Edward Galland, David Kellman, Robert Shafran
Director: Tim Wardle
Runtime: 96 minutes
Fyre Fraud (2019)
The Fyre Festival of 2017 was such a spectacular failure that it inspired two very similar documentaries that were released around the same time in 2019. Beating Netflix’s Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened to the punch, Fyre Fraud details the music festival better known for cheese sandwiches and Lord of the Flies vibes than bass beats and mingling singles. The biggest difference between the documentaries is Fyre Fraud‘s inclusion of an interview with festival mastermind Billy McFarland, revealing the fractured yet relentless ego of a man who now sits in a prison cell.
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Stars: Billy McFarland, Ja Rule
Directors: Jenner Furst, Julia Willoughby Nason
Runtime: 96 minutes
For many documentary filmmakers, the goal of creating their movie is to hold a mirror up to society and demand a change be made. There aren’t many better success stories than Blackfish, although it took a tragedy to create that impact. The film looks at the captivity of Tilikum, an orca held and used for performances at SeaWorld. Tilikum was ultimately responsible for the death of its trainer in 2010, although the documentary argues unjust captivity as a reason Tilikum was more likely to be aggressive in certain situations. It took several years, but SeaWorld ultimately decided to end the use of orcas in its performances, as well as its orca breeding program.
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Stars: Tilikum, John Hargrove, Samantha Berg
Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Runtime: 83 minutes
Hail Satan? (2019)
Satan gets a bad rap, but those working in the devil’s name are not always as evil as they sound. Hail Satan? introduces The Satanic Temple (not to be confused with the Church of Satan), a non-theistic religious group that actually works toward social progress and religious freedom. The Satanic Temple are big believers in the separation of church and state and have been known to counter-protest in favor of abortion rights at Planned Parenthood locations. Director Penny Lane does an admirable job of matching the tone of the film with the tone of the group, who believe in their mission but never take themselves too seriously, despite what their name might suggest.
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Stars: Jex Blackmore, Chalice Blythe, Nicholas Crowe
Director: Penny Lane
Runtime: 95 minutes
We Are Freestyle Love Supreme (2020)
Everyone knows what Lin-Manuel Miranda has been up to lately, but what was he doing before he became the sensation behind In the Heights and Hamilton? He was part of a hip-hop improv group called Freestyle Love Supreme, which engaged audiences and hinted at Miranda’s particular set of skills that would come into focus with Hamilton. The group performed on Broadway for a few months from October 2019 to January 2020, so the documentary focuses on the rise of the group and their individual members, an origin story not known by many outside of the Hamilton diehard population.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Stars: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Christopher Jackson, Anthony Veneziale
Director: Andrew Fried
Runtime: 86 minutes
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