Advice, Culture, Inspiration

10 Movies in 10 Different Languages You Need to See

Learn languages by watching foreign language movies

I tutor a French middle schooler, and he speaks almost perfect English. We’ll talk for 30 minutes and he’ll make one, two or sometimes zero mistakes. I also tutor a few French friends who are in their 20s. Some of them can only go a few sentences without a mistake, but somehow they all went through the same French school system.

So what makes the middle schooler speak so much better than the others? Well he’s listening to his music in English, watching his favorite movies in English, and scrolling through Reddit in English. He even uses the word “like” when he speaks which, to me, shows his true absorption of all English language culture. So while he wouldn’t be at his same level without what he learned in school, he wouldn’t be where he was without movies either. So in honor of the power of movies in language learning here’s a list of 10 movies in 10 different languages:

  1. Roma (Spanish) 

    Roma is a drama that follows the life of a middle-class maid in Mexico City in the 1970s and her time working with a family that is falling apart. 
  1. Bienvenue à Marly-Gomont (French) 

    This film is a feel-good comedy-drama about a recently graduated doctor who moves his family from Congo to a small, rainy village in North-East France.
  1. Parasite (Korean) 

    Parasite, a recent Academy Award winner, is a thriller where a poor family lies about their credentials in order to become the servants of a wealthy family, but it doesn’t end where you would expect. 
  1. Happy As Lazarro (Italian) 

    This movie is a drama-fantasy about Lazarro, a young and kind peasant, who creates a bond with Tancredi, a young nobleman, when they orcestate Tancredi’s own kidnapping together.
  1. Kiki’s Delivery Service (Japanese)

    This movie is an animated fantasy about a little witch who moves away to spend a year in a seaside village in Europe. 
  1. Modo Avião (Portuguese) 

    This rom-com follows a social media influencer who crashes her car while on her phone and is then sent to live on her grandfather’s farm where she will live without technology. (I could only find the trailer dubbed in English, but the film can be found in Portuguese with subtitles).
  1. Miss Violence (Greek)

    This is a horror movie about the events that follow a young girl’s suicide on her 11th Birthday. The trailer is pretty unnerving. 
  1. AndhaDhun (Hindi) 

    This rom-com turned murder mystery is about a blind piano teacher who becomes the only witness of the murder of a former actor.
  1. Goodbye, Lenin! (German) 

    This tragicomedy is about a boy whose mother falls into a coma right before the Berlin wall falls and due to health reasons can’t be shocked with all the changes in society once she wakes up. Her son must continue to convince her communism is still alive and well in Berlin.
  1. The Wandering Earth (Chinese) 

    This science fiction film follows a group of scientists and astronauts who are attempting to move Earth into a different solar system as the sun dies out.

These movies are all considered some of the best films in their languages, so I hope you enjoy them as much as their home countries did. A lot of these movies can be found on Netflix (depending on your region), but if you can’t find them there you can find them on YouTube movies, Amazon Prime or Apple iTunes/GooglePlay store. Happy movie watching!

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