Polls apart: What to stream ahead of the US elections

(Image: Supplied)
(Image: Supplied)

As the world awaits the results of the 2020 American presidential election, here are some fascinating documentaries and movies Showmax that promise some insights into yet another remarkable event in a very remarkable year. 


Nominated for Outstanding Documentary at the 2020 Emmys, this in-depth docu-series shines a spotlight on one of the most polarising political figures of our time, Hillary Rodham Clinton. 

It tracks Hillary’s life from childhood to the 2016 presidential campaign and beyond, drawing on thousands of hours of footage and extensive interviews with Clinton herself, as well as her family, friends, journalists and even former US President Barack Obama. 

“It’s difficult to think of any film that speaks to our moment as strikingly as this documentary does,” says The Wall Street Journal, while The Times UK calls it an “astounding and audacious political documentary”.  

After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News

This HBO film looks at the effects and real-life consequences of disinformation campaigns and conspiracy theories, from Obama Birther theories to fake news surrounding key political figures. Although fake news is nothing new, the latest technology and social media allow people and organisations to push their own agendas using increasingly sophisticated methods. 

Kill Chain: The Cyber War on American's Election 

As the US gears up for the presidential election, this film takes a deep dive into the weaknesses of today’s election technology, an issue that is little understood by the public or even lawmakers.

The doccie follows Finnish hacker and cybersecurity expert Harri Hursti as he travels around the US and the world showing how election systems remain largely unprotected and how easy it would be for individuals, foreign states or other organisation access them.

Through this lens, some past security breaches can be seen as part of a “kill chain”, a long-game attack understanding that breaking down trust in election results is the surest way to undermine democracy. 

Watch more in the American Election Collection

More to watch

These political shenanigans aren’t new - stream these biopics that honour some of the most influential figures in recent years, including the early life story of the Notorious RBG. 

On the Basis of Sex (2018) 

Felicity Jones plays the late, great Ruth Bader Ginsburg in this biopic that traces her struggles for equal rights, and the early cases of a historic career that led to her nomination and confirmation as an associate justice of the US Supreme Court.

Slow Burn

In this adaptation of the award-winning podcast, Slow Burn's Leon Neyfakh excavates the strange subplots and forgotten characters of recent political history. In Season 1, the series takes a deep dive into the Watergate Scandal. 

Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down The White House (2017)

Discover the true story of Mark Felt, who, using the pseudonym Deep Throat, fed information to journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Their investigations uncovered the Watergate scandal in 1972 that led to the downfall of President Richard Nixon. Starring Liam Neeson and Diane Lane. 

Shock and Awe (2018) 

A group of journalists from the Knight Ridder group of newspapers covering former President George W. Bush's planned invasion of Iraq in 2003 are sceptical of the President's claim that Saddam Hussein has "weapons of mass destruction. The cast includes Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, James Marsden, Milla Jovovich and Jessica Biel. 

I am MLK Jr.

This documentary film tells the story of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr and the seminal events that defined the movement and an era in the US. It features interviews with civil rights-era activists such as Rev. Jesse Jackson, Ambassador Andrew Young, Congressman John Lewis and Rev. Al Sharpton

And closer to home … 

If you’re fascinated by politics, stream these doccies that take a deep dive into the recent upheavals in South Africa. Showmax has a great selection of local documentaries, covering topics from the Brett Kebble murder to the incredible story of The Boers at the End of the World

How to Steal a Country 

A compelling look into how investigative journalists uncovered the corruption scandal surrounding Jacob Zuma and how his response was to brush the accusations off as fake news.

Whispering Truth To Power

This thought-provoking documentary follows former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela during her final year in the role as she works to eliminate corruption from the Presidency in South Africa. 

Watch politics in real-time 

Subscribe to Showmax Pro from R225 per month and get access to live news, streaming 24/7. In South Africa, channels include SABC News, Africa News and Euronews. Plus, stream topflight live sport from SuperSport, including English Premier League, PSL and UEFA Nations League football. Find out more »  Standard and mobile Showmax subscriptions start from R49 per month »

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