Terry and Joanne’s top picks

for best documentary films we watched this year

(first of a two-part blog)

You know how much we love movies

This year some of our favorite films were documentaries. True human stories that inspired, connected and made us think.

Style for Success - Terry and Joanne's top movie film picks


Our top 10 choices of those we’ve seen this year.

These are 10 documentary films we would highly recommend watching. (Many of them are available on Netflix and they’re fairly recent, although not necessarily made in 2013). We have included links to the trailers. They all have our 4 thumbs way up.

1 –  Which Way Home

When we think of illegal immigrants we usually thinks of adults. This Oscar-nominated documentary focuses on the plight of children. We follow three children hopping freight trains and traveling on their own from Central America to try to reconnect with parents who have made it to America.

2 – Bill Cunningham New York

Bill Cunningham is an inspiration. Living simply and using a bicycle to get around New York, 80-year-old photographer Bill Cunningham tirelessly records fashions people are wearing on the streets for the New York Times. This documentary honors personal style and more importantly the pursuit of one’s art and passion without regard to monetary reward.

3 – The Island President

An little-known take on a story that is vitally important to us all. This documentary chronicles the extraordinary efforts of Mohamed Nasheed, during his term as president of the Maldive Islands, to fight global warming and prevent rising ocean levels from flooding his tiny low-lying archipelago nation right off the map.

4 – Somewhere Between

Fascinating questions of race, identity and heritage are explored through the lives of four young American women growing up as adoptees from China. A touching story as we get to know these girls as individuals as they reflect on their experiences as members of transracial families coping with their adoption and searching for their birth parents in China.

5I Am

How much stuff do we really need? In this contemplative documentary, successful filmmaker Tom Shadyac nearly dies, prompting him to reevaluate his life. He conducts interviews with prominent philosophers and spiritual leaders — including David Suzuki and Archbishop Desmond Tutu — about what ails the world and how to improve it.

What do you think?

We’d love to hear about movies you enjoyed or that inspired and moved you. (Because we’d like to add them to our movie bucket list.)

Stay tuned for the second half of this post: Our 5 remaining Top Ten Documentaries of 2013

Other Articles:

Posted by Terry Pithers – Canadian business etiquette expert and movie fan

About the author 

Terry Pithers

Canadian speaker, humorist and business etiquette expert. If you are interested in booking me for a presentation, keynote or workshop, contact me. Based in Calgary / Edmonton, Alberta in western Canada.

  1. Thanks to Adele for this film suggestion which Joanne and I watched and loved.
    “Though the documentary I suggest below is ‘horsey’ in nature, it is more than that. Don’t know if it will be your cup of tea but I thought I would respond to your call for hearing about movies that inspired or moved, and this movie is a top pick for me.

    The documentary is titled ‘Buck’ and is about US natural horseman, Buck Brannaman. One of several excellent natural horseman that have become prominent over the last 20 years and have had a significant impact on improving not only the quality and level of horsemanship but having positive ramifications on people’s lives and relationships.

    It documents Buck’s life and how he overcame adversity, and how (if you look beyond the horsey stuff) he is having a positive impact on the lives of others.”
    This movie is currently available on Netflicks.

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