Films are like feasts.
Just like a feast, a film has different parts.
But instead of different dishes, you get different scenes.
You don’t get to taste anything. But you do get to enjoy different sights and sounds.
And a movie nourishes your mind just like a meal nourishes your body.
Sharing a feast of food with other people is a great way to make new friends.
And films are perhaps the best way to make your friendship with English stronger than ever before.
If you have been following this blog, you know that we have written numerous posts about how movies can help language learners. From short films to classics, we have covered almost all the best films that can be helpful to you.
But now it is time to update your movie knowledge with the best recent popular films available for rental and streaming.
It will also allow you to share your opinion on films in online discussions or with an exchange partner, which will sharpen your English communication skills.
So get ready to enjoy a feast of recent English films!
A Feast of New Films in English: Learn with 14 of the Best
Of course, there are great new films coming out all the time! The films below will give you a great start, but to continue keeping up with what’s new in the world of English-language films, watch for the newest videos on FluentU. FluentU takes real-world videos—including movie trailers and videos about movies—and turns them into personalized language lessons.
Films for Beginners
Genres: Animation, adventure, comedy
Description: The Despicable Me series has become one of the most loved animation movie series in the world. The yellow minions, which are actually side characters in the films, even have their own movie now.
In the earlier films, Gru started out as the world’s most evil super-villain (bad guy). In this part of the series, Gru is going through a crisis of identity. He no longer knows who he is anymore.
In the beginning of this movie, he is now part of the anti-villain squad. But pretty soon he is kicked out of the squad when he fails to do his job. And then one day he is visited by his mysterious twin brother, who now wants to become a villain himself and asks for Gru’s help.
Why this movie is great for English learners: Even though the main story is about Gru, the real stars of this movie are the three girls who are adopted by him. Agnes, the youngest sister, is the most adorable character in the world. Her lines are short but very funny. This makes her a good model for English learners who are just starting out.
Overall, the movie is great for learning casual American English. But it may be best for beginners to focus on the three sisters and their speech, as most of the other characters have accents that are not considered standard for English.
You can watch “Despicable Me 3” on Netflix.
Genres: Animation, action, comedy
Description: This movie tries to give a funny twist to the story of Batman. You may have heard of Batman, as he is one of the best known superheroes in the world. In this film, he is faced with a challenge from Joker, his worst enemy.
Batman discovers that he cannot stop the Joker alone and has to team up with others in Gotham City. He also finds out that he has accidentally adopted an orphan boy as his son.
Batman goes through the same kinds of problems as he always does, but this time it looks funny rather than serious. He is challenged by his loneliness, and he also learns a lot about responsibility and relationships.
Like with all LEGO movies, the whole movie looks like it is made out of LEGO bricks (a famous toy used to make various structures like buildings). This gives the movie a ridiculous look and makes it even more humorous.
Why this movie is great for English learners: Most of the movie uses casual English. But some characters, like Alfred, always speak with a formal, British accent.
Learners who like comics a lot and are fans of superheroes will love this movie. It features Superman and other super-villains like Harley Quinn, Catwoman, Riddler and even Voldemort from Harry Potter.
This film is also a great introduction to American humor. Learners from other cultures will instantly notice that the jokes, actions and events are uniquely American and might not be funny in other countries. A lot of the humor is a result of unexpected dialogues and exaggerated actions.
You can watch “The LEGO Batman Movie” on HBO on Amazon.
Genres: Comedy, animation
Description: Tim Templeton is a 7-year-old child who gets all the love and attention from his perfect parents. But one day, he discovers that his parents have brought another baby to their house. Over time, Tim is ignored by his parents as the strange suit-and-tie-wearing baby takes away all their affection.
Then, both the brothers have to put aside their rivalry (competition for the same thing) and join to fight a common threat—puppies. The baby tells Tim about a plan the puppies have to take all the attention of adults away from children. They go through a funny and adorable journey to save the children from being ignored.
Why this movie is great for English learners: The film is a unique mix of casual English and business lingo. As the baby is supposed to be a manager in a business corporation, he uses words like “closers” (people who finalize a business deal) and “power nap” (sleeping for a short time to energize yourself for work). At the same time, Tim and the rest of the babies use basic English language typical of children.
You can watch “The Boss Baby” on Netflix.
Genres: Fantasy, fairy tale
Description: This is an old classic that has been remade by Disney. The famous star Emma Watson, known for playing Hermione in the Harry Potter movies, is in the lead role as Belle. In this story, she is a common girl living in a village. Her father is kidnapped by a monster. She goes to the castle where this monster lives and is forced to stay there to save her father.
In reality, this monster is actually a prince who has been cursed to be an animal, or a “beast.” Only true love can turn him back into a human being. So he wants Belle to stay near him and to eventually fall in love with him.
Why this movie is great for English learners: This is an old story that has been passed on from generation to generation and that is loved by people across the world. Most of the characters speak with a British accent, as that accent tends to be connected with older times in English-language films.
The movie serves as a great introduction to formal British English, also known as the Queen’s English. Some characters who are from the village also speak with a Cockney accent, which is an accent usually used by working class Londoners and is considered to be casual English.
You can watch “Beauty and the Beast” on Netflix.
Genre: Family drama
Description: It is always difficult to stand out in a group. We often try to hide our differences so that others do not think we are strange. We find similarities between ourselves and others when trying to make new friends. But what happens when you cannot keep your differences a secret? This movie seeks to answer this question in the most touching way possible.
It is a story about Auggie, a boy who was born with a different face. He usually wears a helmet so that others do not notice his face. But when he enters school for the first time, he finds that sometimes differences can also bring people closer together.
Why this movie is great for English learners: This film focuses on interactions between school children and families. By watching it, you can also learn the common names of objects found in a classroom, observe how a typical American school functions and see how people talk to each other there.
See if you can notice the differences between how adults communicate in the movie and how children do. Note the difference in tone, vocabulary and also pace.
Genres: Fantasy, animation
Description: Adam is a boy who lost his father when he was a baby. He grew up to be a lonely teenager who has few friends in school. Despite being bullied at school, he pretends to be happy so his mother does not worry about him. But one day, he discovers a secret pile of letters written by his dad. He finds out that his father is alive and that both his parents were keeping this a secret from him.
Adam sets out to meet his father and learns that his dad is in fact Bigfoot (a giant ape-like creature who is believed to have human intelligence)!
Why this movie is great for English learners: A myth is a rumor (information passed from person to person) that is believed by many people around the world. Bigfoot is one such myth and many people in real life have tried to find him, so this movie covers a subject that may come up in conversations. This movie also takes you on a journey through a variety of settings, including schools, jungles and even scientific facilities.
In the beginning of the movie, you can learn the informal, often rude, language of school students. You will also see how school authorities like principals use special words like “detention” and “suspended” to assert their power. There are scenes where a lot of marketing words are used along with scientific terms.
This movie is best for beginner to intermediate learners.
Films for Intermediate Learners
Genres: Superhero, action, mythology
Description: If you love special effects, superpowers, fighting scenes and cool costumes, then this movie is great for you. It is part of group of movies made by Marvel, which focuses on superhero films. This movie focuses on Thor, a god from Norse mythology. He returns to his birth place after a long time to find that his father is dead and his sister is coming to rule his city.
With help from other famous superheroes like Hulk and Doctor Strange, he has to fight his sister Hela and save his people.
Why this movie is great for English learners: Unlike many other famous movies, some of the actors in this one speak in a New Zealand accent (also called a Kiwi accent). The film has many funny moments that can help you understand what kind of humor is popular with the current English-speaking population.
It will also give you some knowledge of Norse mythology and popular superhero knowledge that could help you in having conversations with English speakers. Superhero movies are extremely famous around the world, and you can find online fan groups to discuss your opinions and reactions.
Description: Love comes with many problems. One of the most common is “culture clash.” This is when the backgrounds, the upbringing and the beliefs of two people are a main source of conflict in their romantic relationship. This movie manages to deal with this issue in a sensitive and also funny way.
Kumail Nanjiani is a comedian from Pakistan who falls in love with Emily Gardner, a college student in the US. When Emily falls sick, Kumail develops an unexpected bond with her parents.
Why this movie is great for English learners: Seeing the contrast between the Pakistani and American cultures can be very helpful for English learners. Since the Pakistani-Americans in the movie are migrants, they go through a journey of learning about American culture. You can note the differences between how both the families talk and observe the rhythm, tone, pace and vocabulary of the native and non-native speakers.
You can watch “The Big Sick” on Amazon Prime.
Description: This movie is based on Stephen King’s well-known novel of the same name. It is about a small town where children are being kidnapped by strange forces. When all the adults refuse to find the cause, a group of children decide to investigate. What they find is both horrifying and thrilling. This is perhaps one of the first stories that made clowns into monsters.
Why this movie is great for English learners: The movie is pretty great for learning authentic, casual American English. The dialogues between the children will help you understand what a normal conversation on the street sounds like.
Here is a perfect example:
“Sure I will not get into trouble, Bill?”
“Don’t be a wu-wu-wuss. I’d come with you if I weren’t… dying.”
“You’re not dying!”
“You didn’t see the v-v-vomit coming out of my nose this morning?”
Okay, so hopefully this wouldn’t be a conversation you would hear every day! But it is still a good example of how kids might actually talk to each other in American English. “Wuss” is a word used (in a rude or mean way) to call someone weak or cowardly.
Genres: Action, superhero
Description: Diana is the princess of the Amazons, a tribe of women who train themselves to be warriors. She is raised on an isolated island with no contact with the outside world.
When she discovers a pilot and he tells her about a war that is going on, she decides to leave. Using her special powers, she becomes Wonder Woman, and hopes to stop the great war.
Why this movie is great for English learners: The first World War was a very important event for the English-speaking world, and this film tries to give you a feel of what things were like at that time.
Naturally, the characters use a lot of military vocabulary—like “no man’s land” (a piece of land unoccupied by any nation) or “snipers” (special soldiers who use a gun to kill people from a distance).
You can watch “Wonder Woman” on HBO on Amazon.
Films for Advanced Learners
Genres: Action, superhero
Description: What if your parents were superheroes? Most of us would imagine that to be an exciting situation! But maybe the lives of superheroes are much more complicated than we think.
In “Logan,” we get to see one of the most loved movie characters trying to play the role of a father. Wolverine, a powerful character from the X-men movies, discovers a girl, Laura, who is an incredible warrior. After her mother dies, Wolverine promises to protect Laura from a military group. When he discovers that Laura has powers identical to him, they develop a relationship that is both loving and difficult.
Why this movie is great for English learners: The conversations between characters in “Logan” are powerful but short. Since the pace of these conversations is often fast, though, this movie is best for advanced learners.
Apart from that, American culture, geography and accents are featured heavily in this movie. The characters talk about comic books, there are scenes in public areas and various locations in the USA are an important topic of conversation.
You can watch “Logan” on HBO on Amazon.
Genres: Psychological thriller, horror
Description: Chris is a black American photographer who is in a steady relationship with Rose, a white American woman. When Rose invites Chris to stay in her family’s country house for a weekend, he has no idea what he will go through.
This is a psychological thriller, which means that mystery, suspense and surprise form the core of the movie.
Why this movie is great for English learners: This movie shows a lot of informal, intimate conversations between families and lovers. It also highlights the differences between some speech common in African-American communities and what is considered to be standard American English.
On a cultural level, “Get Out” deals with the issue of current racism in the US, as well as the history of racism in the country.
You can watch it on HBO on Amazon.
Genre: Psychological horror
Description: Three teenage girls have been kidnapped and forcefully kept in cells. But the criminal who did this actually has 23 different personalities inside his mind. This unique movie includes a psychological condition commonly known as “split personality.”
The plot deals with how the different personalities interact with one another and how they can be manipulated by other people. In the end, a hidden personality takes over the criminal’s mind and everyone has to work together to stop him.
Why this movie is great for English learners: Since the same actor has to play the roles of 23 different people, learners can see how people of different genders and age groups might talk differently. All the characters speak American English, but the wide range of differences in the way they talk makes it clear that English is indeed a rich language.
You can buy “Split” on Amazon.
Genres: Animation, biopic
Description: Vincent van Gogh was one of the most influential painters of the 20th century. He was deeply troubled in his life and had to go to mental asylums (hospitals for illnesses of the mind) many times in his life.
This movie tries to capture the last days of his life through the eyes of Armand. Armand is the son of a postman who was close to Vincent. Before committing suicide, Vincent had given him a letter which had to be delivered to his brother Theo. Armand is forced to deliver this letter after Vincent dies. This is a hand-painted animation film which mimics the style of van Gogh’s own paintings. The film has won many awards around the world and is truly one of a kind.
Why this movie is great for English learners: Apart from its artistic brilliance, the film is perfect for showing the differences between some of the major English accents. Its vast cast of characters speak in British, Scottish and Irish accents.
Try to compare these accents with the standard American accents spoken in most of the other movies in this list.
This movie is also great for reviewing vocabulary for objects usually found in rural areas, such as “hay,” “barn” and “field.”
You can watch “Loving Vincent” on Hulu.
The key to learning a language from films is to watch one movie at least two times. It is best to just relax and try to follow the plot when you view it for the first time.
Then, you should watch short parts of the movie and focus on the words, pace and accent of the characters.
Enjoy learning with these films!
Dhritiman Ray is a writer of fiction, poetry and non-fiction. He specializes in topics like education, psychology and lifestyle. To know more click here.
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