Movies are a great opportunity to develop language and get a glimpse of what culture looks and sounds like. There are over 20 countries around the world that speak Spanish and each country has its own traditions, history, food, music, etc. A movie can provide a glimpse into these many items of a culture and help with language development. How so? If a learner constantly listens to scripted dialogues they will end up speaking slow and in a scripted way as well. Movies and TV series provide realistic conversations in a natural spoken way. In order to train a learner’s ear to listen to native speakers, they need to be exposed to many avenues of native speakers. This can be tough in small communities, so movies are a great opportunity to practice this skill.
Consider these 5 movies that portray cultural traditions and history all while infusing the Spanish language, spoken by native speakers. Let’s get those ears in training!
A young boy and his mother are separated when she leaves him behind in Mexico to go work in the U.S. He leaves his family and tries to cross the border to find her. Such a great story that can really create emotion in learners regarding immigration.
- Book of Life (PG, 1h 35min)
A colorful and delightful movie, El Libro de Vida introduces viewers to holiday traditions through a tale of love vs. family expectations. This movie has a focus on Mexico and Day of the Dead.
- Ferdinand (PG, 1hr 41min)
Ferdinand is a calm bull who likes to sit and smell flowers. Due to a run-in with a bee, he gets mistaken for a fierce fighter and selected to fight the infamous matador, El Primero. This has a great, happy ending and introduces watchers to Spain and bullfighting without the gore.
- Selena (PG, 2h 7min)
Selena introduces the life of Mexican singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez, who eventually made it to the top of Latin and U.S. music charts. The music and relationships really appeal to students and the ending leaves them wanting to know more about her.
- Sweet 15 (NR, 2h)
Sweet 15 tells the story of a girl getting ready for her quinceañera. In the midst of the preparations, she discovers her family is undocumented. While this movie is a little dated, it is school appropriate and touches on a popular topic of immigration.
For more options on movie titles to learn Spanish, check this out here.