The Five Best Movies to Improve Your Spanish
Whoever said that learning languages is boring, probably has been living under a rock for the last decades. Thanks to the media world and the incredible access we have to different platforms, websites and TV, there is no chance that you cannot find a way to practice and improve your Spanish skills by watching movies.
There is a soothing and delicious feeling when you just sit on a couch and get immersed in a story for more than an hour.
Sure, music is a terrific source to learn and practice a language, but after repeating the song for 100 times on your Spotify or CD’s (yup, it is still a thing), you would have probably forgotten the meaning of the Spanish words you’re singing. However, there is a soothing and delicious feeling when you just sit on a coach and get immersed in a story for more than an hour. Now what if I tell you that while you lay there, wrapped on your favorite cozy blanket, you can also be so productive to the point of enhancing your language learning process? That’s right, folks. By watching a movie in a language you’re learning, no matter your level, your brain is passively processing and saving golden language and cultural information: conjugations, idioms, accents, and actual use of the language.
So, since we are learning Spanish, we could not outline another list that wasn’t from this rich and dramatic language. These picks follow no specific hierarchy, as they are all magníficas:
El laberinto del Fauno (2006)
Directed by Guillermo del Toro, this fantastic movie tells the story of a girl, Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and her sick pregnant mother arrive at the location of her new step-father, a sadistic Army officer trying to crush a guerrilla uprising in 1944, Spain. While exploring an ancient labyrinth, Ofelia meets the faun, who tells her that she is a legendary lost princess and must complete three dangerous tasks to gain immortality.
This horror/fantasy enthralled audiences internationally and won three Oscars. Even though del Toro was offered huge budgets by American movie companies, he refused to make the movie in English.
Amores perros (2000)
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Amores Perros is an action drama movie based in Mexico City, where a traffic accident connects three stories: Octavio (Gael García Bernal), a teenager, decides to elope with Susana, his sister-in-law. His dog Cofi becomes an instrument to get the money and to be able to escape. At the same time, Daniel leaves his family to go live with Valeria, a model.
This amazing piece of art was nominated for an Oscar, won a BAFTA and won the Prize of the Critic’s Week at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival.
Also directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Biutiful is the story of a man (Javier Bardem) with cancer who struggles to care for and raise his two children as his spouse is an alcoholic. A career criminal receives the information that he only has a few months to live due to cancer. As his health deteriorates, he struggles to get his life back on track and find someone to take care of her children, since his partner is alcoholic and bipolar, and doesn’t live with them.
This “biutiful” and touching movie was nominated for two Oscars in 2011: Best Foreign Language and Best Actor for Javier Bardem, and Bardem won the Best Actor Award at Cannes.
El secreto de sus ojos (2009)
Based on the novel La pregunta de sus ojos by Eduardo Sancheri, and directed by Juan José Campanella. This story is developed around trip through an unsolved murder that, after 25 years, continues to mark the life of Benjamín Espósito (Ricardo Darin), who is an officer of a Buenos Aires Investigating Court who has just retired. His dream is to write a novel and, to do so, he tries to find a solution to a case that has been open for several decades, of which he was a witness and protagonist. Reliving the case, the memory of a woman, whom he has loved in silence for all those years, also returns.
The Argentinian movie earned the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film and a Goya in the same category.
Last, but definitely not least we have a Netflix movie from the last decade Contratiempo (2016), a mystery thriller film written and directed by the Spaniard Oriol Paulo. The story tells the life of the successful businessman Adrián Doria (Mario Casas) that turns into a nightmare when one morning he wakes up in a hotel room next to the corpse of his lover. He is convinced of his innocence, but the evidence proves otherwise. Thus he hires Virginia Goodman, the best witness trainer in the country. Over the course of one night, the counselor and client will work to find a reasonable doubt that will free him from jail but soon everything gives a twist which makes Goodman’s job more complicated.
Although it’s a relatively new movie, it has had three remakes in different languages and has been well-received internationally.
Have you seen any of these movies? What did you think? If not, which one sounds more interesting to you?