I think everyone should watch these documentaries – not just social work majors. These five documentary films address issues of social justice, inequality, mental illness and activism. They’re well-made and inspiring, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
This is one of the most compelling, heart-wrenching, and charged documentaries I have ever experienced. It won an Academy Award, and for great reasons. This documentary film follows the issues facing African Americans and the criminal justice system. It discusses mass incarceration, police brutality, and other issues. If you don’t know a lot about the criminalization of black people in America, be prepared to step away from this documentary with a new perspective on the country you live in.
American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs
This documentary shows you the life of an incredible activist: Grace Lee Boggs. Boggs is one of the most notable women and social activists of our time. This film interviews her at the ripe age of 97 – still making social change in every way that she can.
The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson
(Trigger warning: homophobia)
Johnson was a social activist working for equality in the LGBTQ community. Her good friend makes this documentary to remember her life, her death, and everything Marsha stood for.
Kingdom of Us
(Trigger warning: depression, death, suicide)
I just recently watched this documentary for the first time. I’ve worked in the mental health field for several years now, and this film really struck home for me. This one follows a family recounting their father’s tragic suicide. They talk about the memories of their dad and how they never realized how depressed he was. This is a great film, and a great look into mental illness, suicide, and how it affects everyone involved.
This documentary follows the path of the representation of women in the media. I think it’s really important for social workers to understand how women can experience lack of self-confidence and a misrepresentation of themselves in the media. Young girls and women deserve to see themselves in positions of power.