Best Films About Politics and Culture on Netflix

Best of Enemies (2015) A sharp and cerebral documentary about the adversarial relationship between arch-liberal Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley the conservative founder of The National Review magazine. The two men were enormously influential intellectual figures in American political life during the 1960s. Best of Enemies centres around a series of famous televised debates that took place between them in 1968 in which their fierce rivalry was on full vitriolic display.

Also see: Gore Vidal: United States of Amnesia (2014) in which the late Vidal presented his incredibly jaundiced worldview.

Under the Shadow (2016)

Under The Shadow is an unusual and fascinating horror film about post-Islamic revolution Tehran. It is set during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s in the home of a young mother, Shideh, who is suffering an emotional breakdown. After her husband is conscripted to serve on the frontline, she ignores his advice to leave Tehran, which is under daily assault from rockets, and instead confines herself to her high-rise apartment with her small daughter Dorsa. The two become increasingly isolated and the lines between fantasy and reality begin to blur as paranoid Shideh becomes convinced they are being haunted by a malevolent spirit. Though it is ostensibly a horror film Under The Shadow also incisively observes the drastically changed circumstances of Iranian women during that period.

Unfortunately, this Netflix version is heavily dubbed; the orginal Farsi dialogue of the actors has been overlayed with ill-fitting American accents. If you can see past that then I highly recommend watching it.

Elizabeth (1998)

A dramatic examination of the early years of Queen Elizabeth 1 after she first took the English throne in 1558. At the time she was a young and inexperienced monarch, widely expected to fail. Yet she repeatedly proved her critics wrong with her intelligence and sound judgment.

Mitt (2014)

Released shortly after his historic loss to Barack Obama in the 2012 US Presidential election, the documentary Mitt accompanies Mitt Romney and his family on two presidential campaigns from 2008-2012.

Mitt is not so much about Romney the politician as it is about him as a father and husband. Political partisanship aside, Mitt is a heartwarming insight into the life of a devoted family man.

The Big Short (2016)

The US housing market collapse was the catastrophe that nobody saw coming. All except for a small group of financial industry outsiders, who, prior to the 2008 crash, sagaciously betted against the US housing market. Which, at the time, was like betting against the sun rising in the morning, no market was regarded as more steady and reliable.

Based on the 2010 book of the same by Michael Lewis, The Big Short follows this group of financial dissidents as they slowly uncover the truth about the parlous sub-prime mortgage market.

Almost entirely devoid of sentimentality and sugary moralising, The Big Short is an extremely witty exploration of human folly and greed.

Also see Hank (2013) for an inside perspective into the former US Secretary of the Treasury’s controversial decision to bail out the cash-stricken banks in 2008.

These film are currently available on US Netflix

 This was originally published On Netflix Now 

Candice Holdsworth

Candice Holdsworth is the founder and editor of Imagine Athena. It is mythologised that she sprang fully formed from its pages. Candice has an MSc in Political Philosophy from the London School of Economics, and thus can be most commonly found discussing ideas and culture. Her writing can also be found on Thought Leader and On Netflix Now. Follow her on Twitter @CandiceCarrie and Instagram @candicecholdsworth