10 Netflix documentaries that will lift your spirits

10 Netflix documentaries that will lift your spirits
Heartwarming stuff (Picture: Netflix)

From the jaw-dropping true crime of Making A Murderer to the harrowing expose that is Blackfish, Netflix has plenty of documentaries that will get you shaking your fist about the many injustices in the world.

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But if you’re looking for a slice of real life that will help turn that frown upside down, the streaming service has also got you covered.

Here’s a look at ten of the best uplifting feature-length documentaries available for your viewing pleasure.



The most obvious entry here, this 2011 doc does exactly what it says on the tin – exploring exactly what it is that makes us happy.

Alongside interviews with leading happiness research scientists, the film examines what makes individuals across the world tick, proving that it’s possible to be content whether you’re from the swamps of Louisiana or the slums of Kolkata.



From Gimme Shelter to Grey Gardens, the Maysles brothers have been responsible for some of the greatest pop-culture documentaries of all time.

But directed by the late Albert, this affectionate portrait of eccentric ninetysomething fashion icon Iris Apfel is perhaps the most warmhearted to bear the family name.

Anvil! The Story Of Anvil


A candid insight into the trials and tribulations of an ageing and largely unknown heavy metal band might not sound like a particularly life-affirming watch.

But even those who wouldn’t even dream of stepping foot inside a mosh pit will soon find themselves engrossed in this fascinating, and often unintentionally hilarious, This Is Spinal Tap-esque doc that shows it’s never too late to achieve your dreams.

Raiders! The Story Of The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made


Awestruck by the first Indiana Jones movie, three 11-year-olds decided to embark on their own adventure and make a shot-for-shot remake of the Spielberg classic.

The gang worked on the project for seven painstaking years, but budgetary constraints meant they couldn’t recreate one particular scene – the big-budget airplane explosion.

Two decades later, the original cast reunite to finally complete their love letter to one of the 80s quintessential action adventures in this touching ode to friendship and fandom.

Asperger’s Are Us


The subject of friendship is also explored in this inspiring coming-of-age about an alternative comedy troupe whose members just all happen to be on the autism spectrum.

Asperger’s Are Us follows the foursome as they prepare for a show which was meant to be their farewell, although the success of the film appears to have persuaded them to continue climbing up the comedy ladder.



Told through the perspective of a six-year-old boy, Given is the fascinating story of a family who decided to break free from the norms of society and spend 12 months travelling and surfing across the world.

Released in 2015, this globe-trotting doc is not only beautiful to look at but extols the virtues of widening your horizons, no matter how young or old you may be.

Night School


Not to be confused with the upcoming same-named Kevin Hart comedy, Night School is an emotive look at three adults’ determination to better themselves by finally graduating high school.

A 26-year-old fast food worker, a 31-year-old former petty criminal and a 52-year-old mother whose education was cut short by pregnancy are the three mature students whose against-all-odds journeys will leave you with nothing but admiration.

Jiro Dreams Of Sushi


This mouth-watering profile of Michelin-starred sushi maestro Jiro Ono shows that even the best of the best don’t stop learning.

The Japanese chef has spent almost every waking moment attempting to create the perfect sushi and, at the grand old age of 92, admits that he still has room for improvement.

For The Love Of Spock


You don’t have to be a Trekkie to enjoy this affecting documentary about the late Leonard Nimoy.

Directed by his son Adam, For the Love of Spock is a personal and joyous tribute to both the man himself and the fan worship that surrounded him.



If you thought the premise of 90s Nickelodeon classic Sister, Sister was a little too far-fetched, prepare to have your mind blown.

Twinsters focuses on the reunion between student Anais Bordier and actress Samantha Futerman, two separated at birth twins who only discovered each other’s existence when the former spotted the latter in a film trailer.

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