From gritty true-crime to A-list celeb exposés, premium cable channel HBO Max boasts a wealth of critically-acclaimed documentaries.
Newsweek reveals the very best of the bunch obtainable to view on HBO Max proper now, in accordance to MetaCritic’s aggregated evaluations.
- The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling (2018)
- Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015)
- The Pacific (2010)
- Life According to Sam (2013)
- Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (2017)
- Six by Sondheim (2013)
- What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali (2019)
- Elvis Presley: The Searcher (2018)
- Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015)
- How To with John Wilson (2020)
- Leaving Neverland (2019)
- Who Killed Garrett Phillips? (2019)
- Exterminate All the Brutes (2021)
- Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley (2013)
- Random Acts of Flyness (2018)
- A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY (2014)
- Larry Kramer In Love & Anger (2015)
- Wartorn: 1861-2010 (2010)
- Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing (2016)
- At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal (2019)
- Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists (2018)
- I’ll Be Gone within the Dark (2020)
- 537 Votes (2020)
- If You’re Not In The Obit, Eat Breakfast (2017)
- The Weight of the Nation (2012)
- The Loving Story (2011)
- David Bowie: The Last Five Years (2017)
- Showbiz Kids (2020)
- Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children (2020)
- Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper (2016)
The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling (2018)
Comic genius Garry Shandling is remembered on this revealing two-part documentary from Judd Apatow.
Among the A-listers paying their respect are James L. Brooks, Jim Carrey, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien.
Newsday’s Verne Gay wrote: “Brilliant portrait of an iconic comic, but an especially moving and human one, too.”
Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015)
Footage from Kurt Cobain’s archives creates an in depth examination of the Nirvana frontman’s childhood, music profession and 1994 suicide.
Rotten Tomatoes’ essential consensus states: “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck makes a persuasive case for its subject without resorting to hagiography—and includes plenty of rare and unreleased footage for fans.”
The Pacific (2010)
Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg current this American conflict miniseries primarily based on the battle with the Japanese within the Pacific throughout World War II.
Rotten Tomatoes’ essential consensus states: “An honest, albeit horrifying, exploration of World War II, The Pacific is a visually stunning miniseries not for the faint of heart.”
Life According to Sam (2013)
This inspirational documentary introduces Sam Berns, who has progeria, a uncommon progressive growing old dysfunction affecting fewer than 250 youngsters on the planet.
Dorothy Rabinowitz, a critic from the Wall Street Journal, wrote: “Nothing in this documentary equals the portrait of the unforgettable son they produced.”
Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (2017)
This portrait tenderly paperwork the late Hollywood mom and daughter Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, as they cohabit throughout their remaining years collectively.
Rotten Tomatoes’ essential consensus states: “Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds is a touching, bittersweet, and ultimately charming love story that serves as a poignantly effective tribute to the strangely complicated, uniquely resilient mother/daughter duo.”
Six by Sondheim (2013)
This TV documentary presents an intimate and candid have a look at the life and artwork of famed Broadway composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim.
TV Guide wrote: “Sondheim exults in the ‘agonizing fun’ of his craft. We can only marvel at the results.”
What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali (2019)
This documentary examines the lifetime of Muhammad Ali, from his time as a champion boxer to his enduring legacy as a social activist and cultural icon.
Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com wrote: “[The film] offers something even for those of us who know a great deal about the legendary athlete and civil rights leader by doing something incredibly simple: letting Ali tell his own story.”
Elvis Presley: The Searcher (2018)
This two-part documentary reveals Elvis Presley’s inventive improvement, from his childhood in Mississippi via to his remaining 1976 recording classes.
Matt Zoller Seitz of New York Magazine wrote: “When the subject is the specific sound of Elvis’s music – the component parts and how they ultimately combine and fuse – The Searcher is an absolute banger.”
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015)
This documentary welds archival footage and interviews with former senior Scientology officers concerning the historical past of the controversial church and the alleged punitive practices used to maintain members.
Rotten Tomatoes’ essential consensus states: “Thoroughly disquieting but impossible to ignore, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is a searing investigative work from a master documentarian [Alex Gibney].”
How To with John Wilson (2020)
Documentary filmmaker John Wilson offers his distinctive take on cultural remark by covertly filming the lives of New Yorkers whereas trying to share recommendation.
Daniel Fienberg, of The Hollywood Reporter, described How To with John Wilson as, “funny, sad, and, in the end, shockingly profound.”
Leaving Neverland (2019)
Michael Jackson started long-running relationships with two boys, aged seven and 10 and their households on the top of his fame, who now catalogue the singer’s sexual abuse.
Rotten Tomatoes’ essential consensus states: “Crucial and careful, Leaving Neverland gives empathetic breadth and depth to the complicated afterlife of child sexual abuse as experienced by adult survivors.”
Who Killed Garrett Phillips? (2019)
This documentary investigates the 2011 homicide of 12-year-old Garrett Phillips and the next trial of Clarkson University soccer coach Oral “Nick” Hillary.
Nick Schager, of the Daily Beast, wrote: “A stunning-and enraging-examination of race and the U.S. criminal justice system.”
Exterminate All the Brutes (2021)
This documentary mini-series examines the origins and historical past of colonization and genocide.
Rotten Tomatoes’ essential consensus states: “While Exterminate All the Brutes perhaps packs a little too much into its limited runtime, it remains a powerful, necessary examination of the horrors of historical colonialism and its lingering impact on the world today.”
Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley (2013)
This documentary examines the work and enduring affect of African-American stand-up comedienne, Moms Mabley.
Vulture describes Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley as “simple but perfect.”
Random Acts of Flyness (2018)
Terence Nance describes his documentary challenge as a “show about the beauty and ugliness of contemporary American life.”
Rotten Tomatoes’ essential consensus states: “Random Acts of Flyness‘ poignant political poetry plays in harmony with its frenetic absurdist humor to create a singular musical television experience.”
A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY (2014)
Actor and New York City Fire Department veteran Steve Buscemi appears at what it’s like to work as a firefighter.
Brian Lowry writes in Variety: “In a relatively short amount of time, A Good Job manages to be by turns touching and funny, capturing the camaraderie of firefighters—including the colorful hazing that’s part of hanging around in a firehouse all day—as well as the way danger and death become ever-present handmaidens of the work.”
Larry Kramer In Love & Anger (2015)
This documentary investigates the lifetime of playwright, creator and activist for homosexual rights Larry Kramer.
Mike Hale of the The New York Times wrote: “It’s thoroughly admiring … framing [Kramer’s] excesses as a necessary response to circumstances and suggesting that on the big questions he was always right.”
Wartorn: 1861-2010 (2010)
Late actor James Gandolfini examines post-traumatic stress issues amongst veterans and the consequences on their households on this highly effective documentary.
“The respectful approach pays big dividends, in terms of access,” The New York Times Mike Hale wrote of Wartorn.
Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing (2016)
Hank Stuever of the Washington Post wrote: “Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg’s moving HBO documentary Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing, produced with help from the Boston Globe, can be viewed as a thoughtful study of the lessons of magnitude.”
At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal (2019)
This documentary explores the tradition and practices inside USA Gymnastics that allowed Larry Nassar to abuse greater than 300 younger athletes for greater than 18 years.
Rotten Tomatoes’ essential consensus states: “At the Heart of Gold is a scathing indictment of institutional abuse that sensitively provides victims with a platform to tell their stories.”
Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists (2018)
This Emmy Award-winning HBO documentary takes a fond have a look at Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill, described as “two of the most celebrated newspapermen of the 20th century.”
Stephanie Zacharek from Time Magazine describes the film as “a lively and sly documentary” and was keen on the interviews with Breslin and Hamill.
I’ll Be Gone within the Dark (2020)
This documentary explores the case of the Golden State Killer, who terrorized California within the Nineteen Seventies and Eighties, committing 50 sexual assaults and 10 homicide.
Rotten Tomatoes’ essential consensus states: “Director Liz Garbus smartly centers I’ll Be Gone in the Dark around the late Michelle McNamara’s passionate efforts, weaving together a heavy, but important tapestry of trauma, obsession, and survival.”
537 Votes (2020)
This documentary reveals how the Elian Gonzalez controversy influenced the 2000 presidential election that led to a voter recount in Miami-Dade County.
Ashlie Stevens of Salon.com wrote: “While imperfect, 537 Votes succeeds in making the tumult and social upheaval of 2000 feel fresh again, while also delivering additional nuance to the story that may have been lost over the last two decades.”
If You’re Not In The Obit, Eat Breakfast (2017)
Actor Carl Reiner interviews quite a few 90 12 months olds to show folks’s twilight years can nonetheless be rewarding.
Metacritic assigns the documentary sequence a rating of 81 out of 100 primarily based on 4 critics, indicating “universal acclaim.”
The Weight of the Nation (2012)
This four-part HBO documentary addresses the rising weight problems epidemic within the U.S.
David Wiegand of SFGate writes: “Weight pulls no punches, spares neither the multibillion-dollar food and advertising industries nor public officials for not only failing to fix the problem but actually making it worse, and essentially writes a prescription for the nation’s health and economic future that we ignore to our peril.”
The Loving Story (2011)
The documentary recounts the extraordinary story behind Richard and Mildred Loving’s relationship and the affect of the landmark Loving vs. Virginia case that finally revoked the ban in opposition to interracial marriage.
Hank Stuever of The Washington Post wrote: “Their story is a powerful statement about freedom.”
David Bowie: The Last Five Years (2017)
This documentary about iconic musician David Bowie‘s remaining years consists of archival clips, music movies and interviews along with his associates and collaborators.
Judy Berman of Pitchfork wrote: “Bowie’s untimely death was a tragedy, but at the very least, it finally got us really discussing his body of work. The Last Five Years continues that necessary conversation.”
Showbiz Kids (2020)
Alex Winter’s documentary about little one actors consists of conversations with former little one stars together with Cameron Boyce, Todd Bridges, Milla Jovovich and Jada Pinkett Smith.
Linda Holmes of NPR wrote: “What [Alex Winter has] made here is a perceptive, sensitive film in which actors tell their own stories – some sad, many simply complicated.”
Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children (2020)
This documentary re-examines the instances of kidnapping and homicide of a minimum of 30 African-American youngsters in Atlanta between 1979 and 1981.
Tambay Obenson of IndieWire wrote: “Unsettling and engrossing, Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered is a must-watch.”
Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper (2016)
David Wiegand of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: “Nothing Left Unsaid offers great insight into the lives of its subjects, but its even greater achievement as a film is the unanswered questions it provokes in its viewers.”