The Best Documentaries of the 2010s

Keaton Robbins | May 23, 2023

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The 2010s marked a significant period for the documentary film genre, with groundbreaking advancements in technology, distribution, and storytelling. 

From political exposés to human interest stories, the decade produced some of the most compelling and thought-provoking documentaries of all time. 

In this article

  1. ‘The Elephant Queen’ (2019)
  2. ‘Babies’ (2010)
  3. ‘Honeyland’ (2019)
  4. ‘Life in a Day’ (2011) 
  5. ‘Maiden’ (2019)
  6. ‘20 Feet from Stardom’ (2013)
  7. Conclusion

In this article, we’ll take a look at the best documentaries of the 2010s that left a lasting impact on audiences and the film industry:

‘The Elephant Queen’ (2019)

Directed by Mark Deeble and Victoria Stone, ‘The Elephant Queen’ is a beautifully crafted documentary that focuses on the remarkable journey of Athena, an elephant matriarch, and her herd. 

With an enchanting narrative and breathtaking cinematography, this PG-rated film provides a captivating glimpse into the lives of elephants in the African savannah, celebrating their resilience, intelligence, and sense of community.

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‘Babies’ (2010)

Directed by Thomas Balmès, ‘Babies’ offers a delightful and enlightening look into the lives of four infants from different corners of the globe. 

This charming G-rated documentary follows the journeys of babies from Namibia, Mongolia, Japan, and the United States, showcasing the universal aspects of early childhood while celebrating cultural diversity.

‘Honeyland’ (2019)

‘Honeyland’ is a visually stunning and emotionally powerful documentary that follows the life of Hatidze Muratova, a beekeeper in rural Macedonia. Directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov, this PG-rated film explores the delicate balance between humanity and nature. 

With breathtaking cinematography, ‘Honeyland’ offers a thought-provoking and immersive experience, showcasing the importance of sustainable living and the interconnectedness of ecosystems.

‘Life in a Day’ (2011) 

‘Life in a Day’ directed by Kevin Macdonald, is a collaborative documentary that compiles footage from around the world, all captured on a single day: July 24, 2010. This PG-rated film offers a fascinating mosaic of humanity, showcasing the diversity of human experiences, cultures, and emotions. 

From the mundane to the extraordinary, ‘Life in a Day’ captures the essence of our shared human existence and serves as a poignant reminder of our interconnectedness.

‘Maiden’ (2019)

‘Maiden’ is an inspiring and empowering documentary directed by Alex Holmes. This PG-rated film tells the remarkable story of Tracy Edwards, a young British woman who became the skipper of the first all-female crew to compete in the Whitbread Round the World Race. Through archival footage and interviews, ‘Maiden’ highlights the perseverance, courage,

‘20 Feet from Stardom’ (2013)

‘20 Feet from Stardom’ is a 2013 documentary directed by Morgan Neville that explores the world of backup singers in the music industry. The film features interviews with a range of legendary backup singers, including Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, and Tata Vega, as well as insights from musicians such as Bruce Springsteen and Mick Jagger. 

The film examines the role of backup singers in the music industry, and how their talents and contributions have often been overlooked or undervalued. It explores the challenges and struggles these singers faced as they pursued their dreams of success and recognition, and how they helped to shape some of the most iconic songs in popular music history.

 ‘20 Feet from Stardom’ received widespread critical acclaim and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2014. 


With the addition of ‘Honeyland’, ‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams’, and ‘Life in a Day’, our list of the best G and PG-rated documentaries of the 2010s becomes even more diverse and captivating. These films explore topics ranging from the delicate balance of nature in ‘Honeyland’ to the ancient cave paintings in ‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams’ and the global tapestry of human experiences in ‘Life in a Day’. 

Whether you’re seeking awe-inspiring visuals, thought-provoking narratives, or a deeper understanding of our world, these documentaries provide an enriching and enjoyable viewing experience for audiences of all ages. So, get ready to expand your horizons and embark on these fascinating cinematic journeys.

Wondering what the best documentaries of the 1990s were? Read the blog here to find out.

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