The 2022 Documentaries That Deserve a Spot on Your Watchlist

Whatever else happens in 2022, we'll have some great documentaries.

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Through the past few years of social and political upheaval, documentaries have emerged as one of the best ways to understand how we've gotten to this place. The best ones are truly awe-inducing, introducing audiences to impressive stories from the past or new ways to understand influential public figures. 2022 is shaping up to be another year of great documentaries, including some that reexamine the legacy of public figures, and others that present a social issue from a historical lens to show how much—or how little—has changed. (Documentaries debuting at the Sundance Film Festival can be viewed via the festival's many virtual screenings.)

'Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy'

Jeen-yuhs is an inside look at prolific rapper and producer Kanye West from his earliest days. Directed by Coodie Simmons and Chike Ozah, West's longtime friends and collaborators, the doc covers more than 20 years of unseen footage of West's years as a musician and entreprenur.

Premiere: Jan. 23 at Sundance Film Festival, TBD on Netflix

'The Princess'

princess diana anticipated documentaries 2022

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After a year full of Princess Diana content (including a dramatic season of The Crown and a whole stage musical), 2022 is starting off with a in-depth documentary about the People's Princess. In addition to profiling Diana, this doc will also look at how her royal life and the circumstances of her death have affected public opinions of the royal family for years.

Premiere: Jan. 20 at Sundance Film Festival, TBD on HBO Max

'We Need to Talk About Cosby'

bill cosby anticipated documentaries 2022

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This doc from comedian and CNN host W. Kamau Bell examines the rise and fall of Bill Cosby, using archive footage and cultural and political analysis. The prescient doc covers his past as a beloved icon and star of The Cosby Show to being convicted for sexual assault.

Premiere: Jan. 22 at Sundance Film Festival

'The Janes'

abortion ban protests anticipated documentaries 2022

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In 1972, seven women were arrested in a raid on a Chicago apartment. The crime: running an underground network to get women safe and affordable abortions in a pre-Roe v. Wade America under the collective JANE. Premiering ahead of the Supreme Court decision on the Mississippi abortion ban, The Janes may be the most timely doc of the year.

Premiere: Jan. 24 at Sundance Film Festival

'Lucy and Desi'

desi arnaz lucille ball anticipated documentaries 2022

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In her documentary debut, Amy Poehler directs this tribute to the professional partnership and marriage between Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

Premiere: Jan. 21 at Sundance Film Festival

Quinci LeGardye
Quinci LeGardye

Quinci LeGardye is a LA-based culture writer who covers TV, movies and pop culture. When she isn’t writing or checking Twitter, she’s probably watching the latest K-drama or giving a concert performance in her car.