Whenever I’m feeling demotivated or down in the dumps, I know I can always count on a great documentary to help me turn things around. I am so inspired by watching the story of someone else, and it excites me in a way that fiction just cannot.
When I want to know what is possible, documentaries show me.
If you’re feeling a little demotivated, blue or sad, check out some of these movies. I think they’ll do you right! And all of the links direct you to Amazon Instant Video, so you can watch it straight away!
Why I love it: Because it proves that hard work can be fun.
I’ve watched this over and over and over again. Originally I went to see it at the movies with my friend Jazzi, kind of as a joke… I wasn’t a fan of Katy Perry at the time. But I was blown away in the theatre, and immediately went home and pre-ordered the film on iTunes, because I was desperate to see it again.
It’s amazing to watch Katy’s evolution and growth from a girl raised in a religious home, to doing a gospel record, to being held hostage by a record label who never intended to do anything with her music, to her world tour. The documentary won me over and I am now a confirmed fan of Ms. Perry.
What makes the movie even more fascinating as that as it was being filmed, her marriage to Russell Brand was falling apart. Of course, you only see it from her perspective, but I give her massive props for being vulnerable on camera, and discussing her relationship so frankly.
Plus, there are wicked costumes and hair, plenty of glitter and a whole lot of foam. You’ll love it. It is seriously so great!
Why I love it: Because it’s the ultimate proof that you can always do better, go bigger.
The September Issue came out shortly after The Devil Wears Prada, and to me it’s very clear that Anna (Wintour, of course) wanted to present her own point of view. This documentary follows the creation of the September issue of Vogue, their biggest issue — in terms of thickness, readership and, of course, advertising sales! — of the year.
If you’ve ever had anything more than a passing interest in publishing, magazines, or fashion, this documentary is a must-see. The clothes, the models, the locations, the photoshoots… It is all so gorgeous, but it’s much more than just appearances. The way the team works together, with its very loving-but-dysfunctional family dynamic, is inspiring to the best of us, and Anna Wintour’s exacting standards remind me that I should always do better, and be more demanding of myself.
Also, if you don’t fall in love with Grace Coddington, even a little bit, there is probably something wrong with you.
Why I love it: Because it reminds me to be as weird and eccentric as I want.
Diana Vreeland (it’s pronounced “Dee-ann”, darling) is one of my all-time heroes. An editor at Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, Diana was known for her wild and wacky ideas, and often ridiculed by the general public as being “out of touch”. (I tend to think that the best people always are!)
Diana kicked off the careers of Edie Sedgwick, Twiggy and Cher, and pushed the boundaries of each magazine she worked for. She invented words like “pizazz” and “faction” (a combination of fact and fiction), wore a glamorous turban all the time, and had a red floral living room (described as being “like a garden from hell”).
I waited for what felt like forever for the The Eye Has To Travel, and when it came out I felt that they had done her such justice. Diana was such an enthralling character and it was glorious to see her come to life.
Why I love it: Because it’s inspiring to watch someone eke out a living through so many avenues.
I didn’t know anything about Wayne White until I saw this movie, and now I’m in love with him and his work. My husband has been a longtime fan and has several of his books, so when he saw this film come up on Netflix, he made me sit down to watch it with him. I’m so glad he did!
Wayne White started off making puppets for Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, and of course, that is so much fun to see, but really Wayne’s story is about an artist making his own way and creating an individual path. Particularly, it’s about dealing with fame, ego and money, when those are ideas he mocks in his own work.
He is such a brilliant man, and his work is fantastic, but I really enjoyed hearing about the challenges he’s dealt with. If the phrase “the invisible people I’ve been trying to impress my whole life” resonates with you even a little bit, this is a movie you need to see.
Why I love it: Because Madonna knows how to make things happen, and she takes no prisoners.
They call her the Queen for a reason! This documentary takes you behind the scenes of her day-to-day life in the early 90s, as she prepares for tour, travels the world, has epic dance parties, and makes faces behind Kevin Costner’s back!
Madonna is one of the ultimate American success stories, and it’s fascinating to see how much she has changed between the time this was filmed and now.
Watching Madonna always reminds me to work harder, to ask more of myself and the people around me, and never, ever give up. What could be more inspiring than that?
Breaking out the popcorn,