Of the documentaries I watched this year, I highly recommend Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010), Werner Herzog’s magical documentation of some of the oldest cave paintings in the world. I go into more detail in my review.
I also recommend the very different, more flawed, and quite eerie documentary The Imposter (2012) (see my review here) about a missing boy who ostensibly shows up on the other side of the world, seemingly a completely different person.
Trailers for the Oscar-winning Spotlight (2015) promised a powerful commentary on sexual abuse and responsibility. This fictional portrayal of The Boston Globe‘s investigations of child abuse in the Catholic Church is well-acted, particularly by Mark Ruffalo, but somehow too brief and light. It depicts community culpability and creates believable characters based on real people, yet its brisk-moving plot and a slick running time, usually positives, do not allow it to be the searing and poignant movie it could have been. I still recommend it, but don’t expect anything life-changing.
All three films are available on Netflix streaming.