6 Documentaries to Stream Before the End of the Year

From the many fabulous fashion docs to the slice of life portrayals of the daily grind, there are plenty of non-fiction films to stream before 2019.

Magnolia Pictures

Icons, those who have both departed and are still with us, were the subjects of some of the best documentaries released in 2018. There was also the occasional slice of life story that opened up to be about so much more than just the daily grind, as was the case with films like Minding the Gap. Now that Filmstruck—which was previously the premiere sort of destination one might be able to find documentaries to stream over the years—no longer exists, you might have to get a little creative to find what you need, but that’s what platforms like Kanopy and Mubi are for, while the typical services like HBO Go, Netflix, and Hulu should not be discounted, either. Here, find six documentaries you should stream during that lethargic week between the Christmas holiday and the end of the year.

Minding the Gap

Skateboarding and skate culture were heavily on display in popular culture this year, from the screen (Crystal Moselle’s coming-of-age drama Skate Kitchen and Jonah Hill’s directorial debut Mid90s come to mind) to streetwear trends (think: Ralph Lauren’s collaboration with Palace Skateboards). Minding the Gap is Chicago-based filmmaker Bing Liu’s contribution to the culture, using skateboarding as the entryway into the lives of Keire and Zack, two friends who open up over the course of the documentary to explore relationships, abuse, and the pains of growing up.

Where to stream: Hulu.


A documentary about the iconic designer Alexander McQueen was long overdue, and director Ian Bonhôte delivered with a revelatory and emotional portrait of one of fashion’s most complex subjects. Viewers of the documentary will learn about McQueen’s past, discovering his inspirations for getting into fashion in the first place, the secret messages he would sew into his clothes, and his turbulent relationship with becoming a public figure.

Where to stream: Amazon Prime

Jane Fonda In Five Acts

In her life, Jane Fonda has been many things—an actress, an activist, an exercise video pioneer. In Jane Fonda In Five Acts, Fonda goes through seemingly therapeutic or cathartic revelation after revelation, opening up about her relationship to fame and her late father, Henry Fonda, her mother’s suicide, and the three marriages she lived through.

Where to stream: HBO Go

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist

Vivienne Westwood, fashion’s punk godmother, is the subject of Lorna Tucker’s documentary. The film doesn’t always paint the designer in the most flattering light, and Westwood’s team even took to Twitter to condemn what was perceived to be a dearth of Westwood’s activism featured in Tucker’s portrayal months before its wide release. The drama surrounding the film is almost as intriguing the film itself.

Where to stream: Amazon Prime

The Gospel According To André

2018 was a blessing of a year if you consider the amount of fashion-related documentaries that were released in the past 12 months. Director Kate Novack’s The Gospel According to André is one of those fashion films that struck a chord this year, and it is a delight to witness the growth of someone who was once one of the only few black men at the forefront of the international fashion scene. André Leon Talley is a groundbreaking fashion journalist and an icon in his own right, giving us quips and retorts so on-point, funny, and true to himself that it would only be fitting for a film about his life to be revealing, fabulous, and very authentic all at the same time.

Where to stream: Hulu


As the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has become the subject of intrigue and obsession in 2018. Her tenacity as a Supreme Court Justice, her sense of style (those scrunchies and gloves she wears are iconic) and her incredibly difficult fitness plan are all unpacked in Betsy West and Julie Cohen’s documentary about the trailblazer. Watch RBG then watch On the Basis of Sex and compare notes.

Where to stream: Hulu

Related: The 7 New Netflix Original Movies and Shows to Stream Before the End of the Year