9 Netflix Documentaries to Watch This Summer (2018)

It’s that time again! With one eye definitely on the summer, here is my list of Netflix documentary recommendations for summer 2018. My similar blog  post last year was very popular and I recommended What the Health, My Transgender Kid, How to Survive a Plague, The Hunting Ground, 13th, The Mask You Live In, Miss Representation, Extremis, and Cowspiracy.

So, again here’s a list of 9 documentaries that have a #healthed slant to them that I’m sharing for you to view. Some I’ve seen, the rest are on my ‘watch list’. I’m not suggesting that you show these in your classroom, although some definitely have content that you might want to view and discuss with your students, depending on their age. I’ve included links to the documentary website (many include great associated resources) if one exists, plus the most pertinent Twitter link related to the title. Feel free to share your suggestions with me and on Twitter using the hashtag #slowchathealth.

Gender Revolution

Katie Couric sets out to explore the rapidly evolving complexities of gender identity., featuring an exploration of intersex, gender non-conforming/non-binary and trans Americans The documentary won a media award from @GLAAD this month. Couric said of this documentary that “I set out on a journey to try to educate myself about a topic that young people are living with so effortlessly — and get to know the real people behind the headlines. Because the first step to inclusiveness and tolerance is understanding.” Although this feature has come under some criticism – why did Couric make it, and who is the target audience, I’ve definitely heard more positive comments than negative about Gender Revolution.


Gender Revolution site


It won an Oscar! If you haven’t seen this yet, I think you’ll be surprised. I started watching expecting one thing, and in the end I got something completely different. And I’m glad. Filmmaker Bryan Fogel sets out on a mission to learn about performance-enhancing drugs in sports. What he ends up discovering is far bigger than anyone could have even imagined. You might discuss PED’s in health class, and like me you probably take quite a moral stance on the issue. If so, you’ll find yourself wrestling with your conscience during this documentary.


Icarus Official site.

Flint Town

“How can a city fall so far that we lose sight of possible solutions?” From an American dream to an American crisis, Netflix’s new original 8 episode documentary series, Flint Town – the story of Flint, Michigan through the eyes of the city’s police department – explores the struggles of living in a constant state of emergency and the team of underdogs fighting against all odds to save the city. If you thought that all Flint had to worry about was the toxic waste levels in their water, think again.

Flint Town wikipedia page.

Teach Us All

Watch the first four and a half minutes of this documentary, and if it doesn’t inspire you to watch the whole thing…we can’t be friends anymore! It also contains an amazing quote that I’m going to post above my desk at work – “Real change happens when the people that need it, lead it”

Produced by the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes, TEACH US ALL is a documentary and social justice campaign on educational inequality set against the backdrop of the 1957 Little Rock school crisis. Sixty years after the Little Rock Nine faced violent resistance when desegregating Central High in Arkansas, America’s schools continue to represent the key battleground of the Civil Rights Movement. TEACH US ALL demonstrates powerful lessons from history within a timely context, emphasizing the need for unity and collective action to rectify the disparities among America’s children. The TEACH US ALL social justice campaign seeks to build the capacity of students and
educators to take leadership in carrying forth the legacy of the Little Rock Nine while activating broader community engagement in today’s urgent movement for educational equity.

Check out their website for a comprehensive list of educational resources.

Strong Island

Oscar nominated Strong Island chronicles the arc of a family across history, geography and tragedy – from the racial segregation of the Jim Crow South to the promise of New York City; from the presumed safety of middle class suburbs, to the maelstrom of an unexpected, violent death. It is the story of the Ford family: Barbara Dunmore, William Ford and their three children and how their lives were shaped by the enduring shadow of race in America. The film centers on the 1992 murder of William, a 24-year-old math teacher. William, who was African-American, was killed by a white mechanic.

A deeply intimate and meditative film, Strong Island asks what one can do when the grief of loss is entwined with historical injustice, and how one grapples with the complicity of silence, which can bind a family in an imitation of life, and a nation with a false sense of justice.


Strong Island official site

Feel Rich: Health is the New Wealth

If your students are influenced by hip-hop culture then this documentary might be of interest. One for the hip-hop generation FEEL RICH: HEALTH IS THE NEW WEALTH documents the nascent self-love revolution emerging in urban communities. Narrated by Quincy Jones III, the film features interviews with iconic artists, producers, urban farmers and meditators who have made dramatic changes in their lives by opening themselves up to new ideas about what it means to be rich. Get fit or die tryin’.

RIP Phife Dawg.


Obesity: The Post Mortem

British documentary revealing just how dangerous too much fat is to our most vital internal organs. The program follows a specialist pathology team as they conduct a post-mortem on the body of a 238lb woman whose body was donated to medical science. Their findings, as they dissect the body and its organs, are startling, exposing the devastating impact of obesity with stunning visuals and fascinating medical facts.

Morbid obesity reduces life expectancy by an average of nine years and is blamed for over 30,000 deaths in the UK every year. With 65 per cent of people already overweight or obese, this extraordinary film is a powerful contribution to the debate about fat, food, lifestyle and how the health service will cope with the growing obesity crisis.


This character-driven film considers the evolving sex trafficking landscape as seen by the main players: the exploited, the pimps, the johns that fuel the business, and the cops who fight to stop it. The topic of trafficking doesn’t get mentioned much, if at all in my health class but I know from speaking to teachers from across the country that it is an issue that affects their students  and local community. I know that SHAPE America’s 2017 Dance TOY Melinda Wilson has been recognized for her work with protecting the targets of sex trafficking.

PBS article on ‘Tricked’.

Before The Flood

My #oneword for this year was ‘environment’ and so it would be remiss of me to create a list of documentaries without including this award winning account of the dramatic changes now occurring around the world due to climate change.

Before The Flood official site.

Other popular #slowchathealth blog posts that you might like are:

#summerreads a list of books that I have lined up to read over the summer of 2018, many of which had been recommended by my PLN. Includes some great links to book suggestions that will inspire you.

Free Summer PD a blog post listing 10 ways in which you can get free professional development this summer, in your own time, for no dime.

Many of the movies listed above are also available on Amazon

4 thoughts on “9 Netflix Documentaries to Watch This Summer (2018)

  1. Pingback: Free Summer PD – #slowchathealth

  2. Pingback: 9 Netflix Documentaries to Watch This Spring (2019) – #slowchathealth

  3. Pingback: What to Watch this Fall (2019) – #slowchathealth

  4. Pingback: What to Watch This Spring (2020) – #slowchathealth

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