Best Documentaries Of 2023 To Watch

Along with horror, suspense, or rom-com films or series, documentaries, especially crime documentaries, have held a special place in people’s hearts for several years. These documentary films and series are not only informative or educational but also entertaining, addictive, and capable of hooking the audience to the screen. In 2023, a whole lot of documentaries will have been released thanks to our familiar streaming giants, Netflix, Amazon, Hotstar, etc. Starting from different types of crime and its investigation to some inspiring events from various people’s lives, these documentaries highlight some captivating subjects that often open our eyes to help us unravel the mystery of our very own world and the complicated human psychology. Sometimes even the real-life incidents depicted in these documentaries make us reflect on life more than any fictional drama could have ever done. Here we have compiled a list of some of the best documentaries released in 2023 that will keep you glued to the screen.


The Fake Sheikh

Amazon’s three-part documentary series, The Fake Sheikh, can compete with any of Hollywood’s conman thrillers. The documentary masterfully portrays the true story of British journalist Mazher Mahmood’s questionable journalistic tactics that helped him climb the ladder of success. But eventually, greed for fame and desperation led to his downfall. This series talks about the daring and adventurous Mazher Mahmood and his master technique of using disguises to catch any criminals red-handed. The documentary series won’t disappoint you with a dry information dump but will keep you on the edge of your seat till you find out what exactly went wrong in Mahmood’s life.


Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife

The Netflix documentary series Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife is a riveting true story of a killer doctor, Paolo Macchiarini‘s evil endeavor to gain success and money by giving false hope of survival to a lot of people. His regenerative invention, an artificial stem cell trachea, was initially considered a medical miracle, but eventually it turned out to be a nightmare. The series delivers gripping storytelling by presenting some of the frauds that Paolo committed both in his professional and personal lives. Bad Surgeon‘s harrowing storytelling will make you wonder about the complicated human psyche and question the trust-ability of such innovative medical inventions.


Savior Complex

Savior Complex is an HBO documentary series that depicts the white savior complex of a social activist named Renee Bach, who was also the founder of a nonprofit organization in Uganda. This documentary series tells a multifaceted story involving unethical medical practices and the influence of social media on activism. HBO’s Savior Complex might not be everyone’s cup of tea because it’s not as typical as other crime documentaries are, but for documentary lovers, this series should be a must-watch to get inspiration from the unbiased storytelling that leaves it up to the audience to judge what is right and wrong.


Desperately Seeking Soulmate

Another docu-series released on Amazon Prime, Desperately Seeking Soulmate, revolves around a Michigan-based couple, Jeff and Shaleia Ayan, who started a dating website, helping people get through a breakup and look for their divine soulmate, called their Twin Flame. However, things took a dark turn when Jeff and Shaleia began to claim themselves as the representatives of Christ and advise people to get into abusive relationships. The series brilliantly depicts how people can easily manipulate someone who is vulnerable and in need of guidance and emotional support.


Yellow Door: 90’s Lo-fi Film Club

One of the most heartwarming and inspirational documentary films I watched on Netflix is Lee Hyuk-rae’s Yellow Door: 90’s Lo-fi Film Club, featuring Academy Award-winning filmmaker Bong Joon-Ho and some of his old friends and fellow cinephiles, who built a film club together to discuss and study films in their good old college days. This film, which is a treasure for all the cinephiles out there, will also take you back to those bygone days when most of us had different kinds of dreams in our eyes. Now many have moved away, and some have chosen different career paths, yet we are connected by that bridge of memories. This film will ignite a sheer love for cinema in your mind and make you yearn to go back to those golden days of college life.


The Jewel thief

Directed by Landon Van Soest, The Jewel Thief is brought to the screen by Hulu, depicting a daring and unapologetic thief, Gerald Blanchard, who is nothing short of James Bond. This documentary is a hilarious presentation of one of Gerald’s heists after another, leaving the investigation officers in wonder. Throughout the documentary, Gerald will make you laugh and wonder about his unhinged yet calm demeanor as well as his ingenious techniques for carrying out a heist.


Curry and Cyanide: The Jolly Joseph Case

Among the plethora of Indian crime documentaries, Netflix India’s 2023 release, Curry and Cyanide: The Jolly Joseph Case, is a must-watch. The film is based on one of the most unsettling murder cases in Indian criminal history. The film narrates the story of a 47-year-old housewife, Jolly Joseph, who used cyanide to murder six of her family members over 14 years. Despite its somewhat slow-burn storytelling, this documentary film remains intriguing at the end, delivering an experience that justifies the time you put into it.


Beckham

Crime documentaries or films are fine, but sometimes Netflix brings forth a slew of biographical documentaries that not only inspire you but stay with you for a long time, even after the credits roll. One of my favorites is Beckham, which doesn’t need much explanation. This four-part documentary includes some unseen footage of David Beckham’s life that highlights his humble background and his eventual rise to prominence.


The Deepest Breath

A Netflix documentary film, The Deepest Breath, is nothing short of a romantic and emotional story of two lovers who could even risk their own existence to protect each other. This sweet and bitter romantic tale of freediver Alessia Zecchini and her safety instructor, Stephen Keenan, sets an extraordinary example of heroism and genuine love for each other. This documentary is an engaging watch with its heartwarming storytelling that will eventually bring tears to your eyes.

Documentaries are proof that cinema is not a mere medium for entertainment. While documentaries like The Jewel Thief or The Fake Shiekh can keep you on the edge of your seat and entertain almost like a suspense or thriller series does, documentaries like Beckham, The Deepest Breath, or Yellow Door fascinate us and inspire us to do something in life. Besides, these documentaries in general enrich us with information from all over the world. People who have no idea about such a medical fraudster as Paolo Macchiarini’s plastic trachea will be aware of such scams and be extra cautious before trusting any regenerative medical research, thanks to the Netflix documentary Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife. So without further ado, let’s wrap up 2023 with some amazing and engaging documentaries for a perfect year-end.


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Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda hails from a medical background, yet her journey is to cross the boundaries of medicine and survive in the cinematic world. The surrealistic beauty of cinema and art has attracted her from a very young age. She loves to write poems, songs, and stories, but her dream is to write films someday. She has also worked as a painter, but nothing attracts her more than cinema. Through her writings, she wants to explore the world of cinema more and more and take her readers on the same ride.

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