We’ve never been too crazy about the phrase “embarrassment of riches.” Why the embarrassment? Can you really have too much of a good thing? When it comes to documentaries, we think you can’t, so we prefer to categorize the best documentaries of 2021 as a pride of riches. We included 20 on this list because we didn’t feel, in our right minds, that we could do without any of them. And the range of movies here is a testament to the vast spectrum of work now being done in the non-fiction arena. A number of the films we chose are music docs, but that’s simply because there was so much extraordinary, impossible-to-ignore work in that area. Yet the movies on this roster also encompass subjects like race, politics, art, food, the police, the animal kingdom, the environmental crisis, the opioid crisis, and a rescue mission more gripping than any thriller. To anyone who doubts that docs rule, our response is simple: get real.
The Best Documentaries of 2021