I love a good documentary. I feel like I can learn more from a well-made documentary than I ever can from watching hours of American news media. I especially love movies that expose injustice, cultural issues, or a side of humanity that is misunderstood or under-represented.

Last night, we watched Jimmy Carter: Man from Plains. I thought this would be a movie that documented the life of Jimmy Carter (which it did, and he is my new hero). But what I really learned about from the film was the ongoing struggle between Israel and Palestine. I’ve been aware of this conflict, but never really fully understood all the implications. This movie was so informative and I feel like I have a new compassion for both sides caught up in this struggle. Check it out – your thinking will be changed.

Here are some other documentaries that have inspired or enlightened me:

Born into Brothels – a photographer teaches a group of children born to prostitues in Indian brothels

Darfur Now – hard to watch, this follow 6 people trying to end the conflict in Sudan

Sicko – a scathing report of the state of health insurance, watching might just make you sick

Devil’s Playground – follows a handful of Amish teenagers as they break from their past and experiment with drinking, drugs, and driving. the Amish girls gone wild.

Stevie – this was a heartbreaking story of where the fostercare system can lead

The Business of Being Born – an exploration of the “business” aspects of maternity wards

Super Size Me – I’ve got some bad news about your Happy Meals… brace yourself

Lost Boys of Sudan – follows several young Sudanese refugees trying to start a life in the US

Control Room – just what is truth in the Iraqi war? This movie juxtaposes Al Jazeera’s reporting, vs. the American military’s reporting.

Jesus Camp – a look into a modern-day church camp

My Kid Could Paint That – is 5-year-old Marla really a painting genius?? if you see it, tell me what you think

Who Killed the Electric Car? – how big oil companies squashed a greener option for transportation

Why We Fight – some of the reasons we really go to war

Hell House – Christians stage a “haunted house” as a scary witnessing technique

The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara – an interesting interview where parellels are made between our past and current mistakes

The Lost Children of Rockdale County – what happens when teenagers are ignored. every parent should see this.

Eyes of Tammy Faye – a fascinating look at a misunderstood woman who finds amazing redemption at the end of her life

Dixie Chicks: Shut Up & Sing – middle America isn’t really this dumb. Right? RIGHT?

Sound and Fury – a look into the life of the deaf community

and who can forget:

The Endless Summer – the ultimate carpe diem surfing movie, and my husband’s all-time favorite!