They might not get the 3,000-screen openings or reams of publicity that Hollywood blockbusters get, but documentaries have become increasingly popular and easy to access in recent years. Which is as it should be because the filmmaking in some of them is nothing short of masterful, tackling subjects from Scientology and corrupt cops to acting legends and musical geniuses taken before their time. These films capture a sense of drama in their stories that’s as compelling (or more so) than anything you’d find in the fictional realm, and they come with the added benefit of sharing a lot of useful knowledge about their varied subjects. So if you’re in the mood for a little entertaining enlightenment, check out this collection of 12 riveting documentaries from 2015.
12. Going Clear
Going Clear retraces Scientology’s steps from its beginnings in Hubbard’s science-fiction novels to its pursuit of celebrities and eventual establishment as a tax-exempt religion built on a campaign of blackmail and bullying. The core of the film is made up of interviews from former Scientologists who have come to the realization that Scientology is much less of a path to enlightenment and much more of a money-making cult headed by the inscrutable David Miscavige. The film doesn’t seem to have much of a problem taking sides either, as it’s made painfully clear that Scientology, and many of the people who follow it, are just plain crazy.