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Five Netflix Movies That Will Make You Want to Change the World

Five Netflix Movies That Will Make You Want to Change the World

Movies are in a bit of a lull right now. Sure, there’s a small handful of dystopian dramas and action-packed options at the theaters, but the summer blockbuster bump hasn’t quite hit yet. So, while you’re stuck at home scrolling for an option to pass the time, why not choose something that has an inspiring message? One that holds significant messages, prevalent themes or ideas that will compel you off your couch and out into acts of service?

If that sounds like something you’re looking for, check out these five options — all available to stream on Netflix:

What We Leave Behind

Julián Moreno is the focus of What We Leave Behind, a poetic exploration on family, tradition, immigration, and life and death. Filmmaker Iliana Sosa interviewed her grandfather, who took time every month for nearly 20 years to take a bus for the 560-mile trip from his home in Mexico to visit his daughters and grandchildren in El Paso, Texas. The story weaves through loss, hope and sacrifice, reminding us that everything we gain can often come at a cost.


Amid today’s dietary climate of fad diets and special restrictions, it feels revelatory to experience a documentary series that comes to the defense of food, plain and simple. Food writer Michael Pollan explores the origins of man’s most basic culinary staples—grain, roasted meat, gathered vegetables—and advocates for cooking that preserves an integrity for the planet and a sense of joy in the body. In these mini-movies, food connects us to the Earth in a literal way, and it compels you to think of your relationship with food as something harmonious, serving and cooperative, rather than dependent and abusive.


In this 2016 American documentary by director Ava DuVernay, we explore the intersection of race, justice and mass incarceration in the United States. Titled after the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which freed the enslaved and prohibited slavery (unless as punishment for a crime), DuVernay focuses on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with black people.

A Plastic Ocean

A Plastic Ocean begins when journalist Craig Leeson, searching for the elusive blue whale, discovers plastic waste in what should be pristine ocean. In this documentary, Craig teams up with a free diver, Tanya Streeter, along with an international team of scientists and researchers. Together, they travel to 20 locations across the world over four years to explore the fragile state of our oceans, uncover alarming truths about pollution and reveal solutions that can be put into immediate effect.


Here’s the elevator pitch for Okja: A young girl has this pet, which is sort of a pig/cow/hippo hybrid, but it’s going to be experimented on by this giant corporation to use as livestock, so she has to save it. OK, it’s not the most accessible thing at a glance, but Okja is packed with things to say about animal rights, capitalism, monopolization and even refugee crises. It’s all wrapped up in a fun, feel-good package that will move you to love a giant pig-hippo-cow, and maybe make some changes after the credits roll.

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