Although Mean Girls is undoubtedly one of the best movies that’s ever been released and binge-watching Breaking Bad is fun, sometimes, you’ve just got to watch something that will make your mind’s gears whirl into action.
That is, the same kind of action that the women in these documentaries take on every day. If you’re looking for inspirational, this should be one of your first stops.
A Russian sailor made waves in 2014 a film dubbed Miss Captain chronicled her story. Although not as mainstream and popular as some of these other documentaries, it chronicles an equally powerful story about one of the world’s few female captains. It’s not an easy occupation for very many, and it’s not a common role to see women play, and to see her defy expectations is pretty stunning.
He Named Me Malala
If you haven’t heard of activist Malala Yousafzai, He Named Me Malala is probably one of the best things to watch to learn more about her. Yousafzai is an outspoken advocate for gender equality and children’s rights in her home country, Pakistan, especially after being targeted for demanding equal education for girls. He Named Me Malala follows her recap of how a gunman hunted her down as she pushed to send poor girls to school, and how she pursued her own studies in the face of adversity.
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Civil rights activist and singer Nina Simone was nominated for 15 Grammy Awards throughout her late 20th century career, so it’s probably no surprise that a 2015 documentary about her is nominated for six Emmys. What Happened, Miss Simone? traces her story facing discrimination in her career, but celebrates her pursuit of her dreams and success. Told by her daughter, it highlights the ways she tried to overcome both societal pressures and her own personal struggles to become an accomplished musical artist.
If you want something that’ll give you a laugh and leave you in awe, though, Public Speaking is a great pick. Featuring acclaimed writer Fran Lebowitz and her funny quips about American life, the documentary follows her on her various speaking engagements in the country. While Lebowitz sometimes offers unpopular opinions, it’s her convincing speaking style and those laugh-out-loud moments that will get you thinking about your own life.
Consult this list for something to watch when you want to see something intelligent about women who have shaped your world today. You never know when inspiration strikes next.