12 Documentaries to Make you Think, Laugh, and Feel Inspired

Lately, I’ve been on a documentary kick. Of course, I’ve always been a true crime documentary/podcast content-type person. But over the past few weeks, I’ve opened up to more positive, powerful, feel-good, happy-cry-type content. And with that newfound interest, I’ve watched some fantastic shows and movies that you, too, may find beautiful, influential, engaging, and all-around enjoyable. If you’re looking for happy-cry content, I highly recommend these inspiring documentaries.



This docuseries inspired the title of this post. As I write this, I’m watching a few episodes with tears rolling down my cheeks; happy, heartfelt, internal-sparkle tears. Watch an episode or two, and I promise the feeling will be relatable.

Dogs is entirely what the title implies, a Netflix series focusing on dogs. Every episode tells a different story of a dog’s journey and their relations to humans – from service dogs and rescue dogs to specific stories of aging dogs and traveling dogs. The show is truly a feel-good watch, perfect for a Sunday reset kinda day.

Down to Earth

We love a good Zach Efron movie; lately, we love Zach Efron’s energy channeled in documentaries.

Down to Earth is a consistent educational walk through nature that’s entertaining and fun. From Tasmanian Devil conservation, restorative agriculture, eco-warrior mushrooms, ocean preservation, and much more – there is just so much to love about the docuseries, which now has two seasons on Netflix.

Live to Lead

I watched this docuseries with a friend and her mom, who encouraged us to check it out. The series is an outstanding and memorable telling of inspiring humans from around the world. These are stories of people who dared to make a difference in the face of adversity, cultural and sociological roadblocks, and despite threats and actions of violence. These are real-life heroes, from athletes to activists; their stories tell us to keep moving forward and continue fighting for what is right.

Kiss the Ground

Kiss the Ground is narrated by Woody Harrelson, which is already a considerable boost of serotonin for me (petition for Woody Harrelson to narrate all future documentaries). I’ve watched this documentary a few times, and every time, I’m blown away by the obvious but overly misunderstood (and unknown) understanding of regenerative agriculture and our role in making things better for the world.

In other words, rather than contributing to the climate crisis, we can positively affect the land if we go back to the natural way of farming, work with the land, and against industrial agriculture.

I may not be selling this to everyone, perhaps it sounds too hippy, but I highly encourage everyone to give it a go.

My Octopus Teacher

Documentaries that change the way you think are powerful and purposeful, and My Octopus Teacher does just that.

This may be a wash, rinse, repeat suggestion – as I only know a few people who have yet to watch or at least hear of My Octopus Teacher, but the documentary is truly too beautiful to live off the list. So, if you haven’t watched it already, here’s a brief description: My Octopus Teacher is a mystical look at octopus species through the lens of one man and his unexpected relationship with a wild octopus. It’s a beautiful documentary that will open your heart and expand your perspective.

If you have watched it already, watch it again.


Fair Play

This documentary dives into how gender plays a role in society’s views of “responsibility” in relationships and family life. And how those views play a part in our actions. I appreciated the focus of this documentary, equally involving the empowerment of men as much as it was about empowering women.

If These Walls Could Sing

This documentary is for anyone who loves The Beatles or music in general.

“If These Walls Could Sing” is directed by Mary McCartney, daughter of Paul and Linda McCartney. The film focuses on the iconic Abbey Road Studios in London, reflecting on the studio’s rich history and exploring memories from the countless musicians who’ve recorded there. In addition, this documentary features exclusive interviews and rare archival footage – celebrating Abbey Road’s 90th anniversary with a unique look into its enduring past.

The Last Tourists

The Last Tourist is an eye-opening look at how travelers negatively impact the places we claim to appreciate. There were not so surprising revelations (treatment of animals) and ones that caught me off guard (“orphanage tourism”). This documentary really made me think about the type of traveler I want to be and how my personal journey should not come at the expense of others.

It’s a powerful reminder that we must respect the places we visit and try our best to leave them better than when we found them. Not only that, but this documentary is an important reminder to be mindful of how we spend our money and what we support with each dollar – a lesson for all who wish to explore the world.

Discovery +

Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy

If you don’t already have the itch to leave everything behind and move to Italy, just one episode of Stanley Tucci’s series will get you scratching.

The series follows Tucci as he travels across Italy, exploring various regions of Italy, introducing us to traditional and contemporary food and people, making it possible.

Disney +

Limitless with Chris Hemsworth

At times this show had my adrenalin rushing, but Limitless is more than just watching Chris Hemsworth perform wild and crazy stunts in the name of living longer.

The documentary evaluates how we speak to ourselves when we feel like we’ve failed at something or are in moments of panic. It’s about separating fear from uncomfortability, separating reality from imagination.

The Biggest Little Farm

Break out the tissue box because you will need it for this watch. At first, I wasn’t sure if I would include this documentary on my list because the harsh realities of building an eco-positive, sustainable farm are precisely that – harsh. But, somewhere in my heart, there is a place in which I enjoyed the journey of The Biggest Little Farm. Their story is inspiring, and their work is exactly what we need for our planet’s survival.

So buckle up because as documentaries go, this one is heartwarming and heartbreaking – all the things you’d expect to build your farm from the ground up.

The World According to Jeff Goldblum

This docuseries is a humorous exploration of the most random things, with topics driven by the interests of Jeff Goldblum. The show covers seemingly mundane topics (birthdays, tattoos, and ice cream, for example) with sweet, fun, and educational outcomes. This show is great watch when you need a little pick-me-up and want to learn something at the same time.

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