5 Documentaries That Pack An Emotional Sucker-Punch

Bridegroom- This heartfelt documentary chronicles the story of Shane Bitney Crone and his boyfriend, Tom Bridegroom. After Tom fell off the roof of their apartment building and suffered fatal injuries, Shane narrates how limitations on same-sex marriage kept him from fully grieving and from protecting the life the two had built together. Visceral and unflinching in its approach, this documentary will make you reevaluate your thoughts on same-sex marriage and what true-love can mean. Also, it may or may not have you bawling on your couch for hours…I know from experience.

Bully- Another documentary that brings flashbacks of my childhood, Bully chronicles five different families as they deal with bullying and the emotional ramifications it has on their family. This film is deeply unsettling because for once, the curtain of teenage suicide is pulled back and a family’s grief for their child who ended his life due to bullying is put in front of an audience. The strong pathos throughout makes you realize just how much still needs to change in the public school system in regards to bullying, and how clueless the occasional faculty member is about the repercussions of bullying. The adage “kids will be kids,” is put on display here, but asks the audience the pertinent question- is that a valid dismissal for emotional torture?

Whore’s Glory- This film chronicles prostitution rings in three different countries. In Thailand, Bangladesh, and Mexico, these women’s stories are powerful and deeply moving. Some feel empowered by their profession, while others are desperately seeking a way out of it. This film made me feel even more privileged to live in the US (although, human trafficking is a harsh reality all over the world, even in the USA). This documentary will highlight how other parts of the world view sex and the sex trade and will make you feel extremely dirty (like in a you-want-to-take-a-hot-shower way)


For The Bible Tells Me So- This documentary is powerful and hits close to home for me growing up in a southern town where religious zealots ran rampant. It explores various anti-homosexual hates groups and how they interpret the bible in order to justify their hate. However, not every family/ person highlighted in this documentary is filled with hatred. The tears will flow freely when families open up about their fear about their children’s safety being compromised due to their sexuality. Powerful, well-researched, and critical this documentary is intelligent and incredibly moving.


The Bridge- This film, in my humble opinion, packs the strongest emotional punch. This documentary follows filmmakers as they capture people’s last moments of desperation and sorrow on The Golden Gate Bridge. Unflinching and powerful, this film shows people attempting to end their life by jumping off the infamous bridge. The most haunting moment by far is when a man named Gene simply lets himself fall backwards off the bridge as a voiceover of his friend narrates, “maybe he just wanted to fly.” Absolutely haunting.TC Mark

Read another essay from Shawn Binder in Thought Catalog Books’ new anthology, Boys, here.

TC Site

eBook ‘Everything Is Embarrassing’ out in 2014.

More From Thought Catalog