We need to relax.
We all lead ridiculously busy lives. Sometimes, too busy.
We could all do with a bit of down time—but make no mistake , “relaxing” means more than just putting our feet up and turning our brains off.
It’s absolutely possible to slow down, be entertained and learn—all at once!
How? By streaming Spanish-language films!
And just because we know you’re crazy busy, we’ve narrowed the endless list of films down to a handful that truly stand out. They’ve been chosen from various sources (Amazon, YouTube, Netflix and Vudu) and there’s an array of genres so there should be something to intrigue everyone on the list!
Grab the popcorn—we’re going to the movies!
Why You Should Stream Spanish Movies
“Streaming” is the method of delivery that brings movies to a computer or device. There’s no need to download the entire movie file before watching it, so this is definitely a convenient way to watch movies. No need to brave the cold. No tedious computer programs to run. Just choose a film, sit back and fall into the story!
Remember, this is both relaxation and learning time, so unless your Spanish skills are at the intermediate or advanced level, use subtitles. Watch to learn, but enjoy the content, too. Understanding what’s being said is important.
If you really want to try watching without using subtitles, you’ll need to build your vocabulary a little beforehand. You might consider using a platform like FluentU to supplement your learning.
FluentU takes real-world videos, like music videos, commercials, news and inspiring talks, and turns them into Spanish learning experiences.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos—topics like soccer, TV shows, business, movies and even magical realism, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and it recommends you examples and videos based on the words you’ve already learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning the same video.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store for iOS and Android devices.
Now let’s get to the movies!
7 Amazing Movies to Stream in Spanish Hoy
“¿Qué culpa tiene el niño?” (“Don’t Blame the Kid” )
This Mexican film was made in 2016 and is the epitome of a romantic comedy. While it’s not a new storyline—a drunken one-night stand ends up in an unplanned pregnancy—the characters make this a highly entertaining film.
Mara, played by Karla Souza, is determined to “do the right thing” and establish some kind of relationship with the unemployed, immature father of the baby. Her friends and relatives are open about their feelings regarding the situation, and they so realistically portray those feelings—sometimes very explicitly!—that they really solidify this story.
An added bonus—aside from the colorful vocabulary—is the look at the cultural dynamics that shape this situation. Certainly worth watching—if only to see just what Mara ends up doing!
Caníbal means cannibal and that pretty much sums up the plot of this movie! It was made in Spain in 2014 and if you’re a fan of suspense, psychological thrillers or Hannibal Lechter—this is the story for you!
Carlos is an upstanding tailor—by day. He’s handsome, detail-oriented and looks totally harmless.
By night, he’s a monster who kills and eats women.
Now, that’s a study in contrasts, isn’t it? While it’s true that what the seemingly mild-mannered tailor does is horrible, it’s the “why” of this man that’s so spellbinding. And when he meets a woman he has actual feelings (and not just an “appetite”) for, the paradox emerges.
I’m not a big fan of gore, but the psychological insights make this movie time well spent.
This beautifully animated Cuban love story was made in Spain in 2010 and it’s a movie that just may become a favorite!
When an Oscar-winning director pairs up with an award-winning illustrator, the result is pure magic. This is a story of love and heartbreak that’s so well done that it’s easy to forget the characters are drawings.
Chico is a musician and beautiful Rita is a singer that meet in Havana in 1948. Of course, they become lovers but their careers take them in different directions. Rita goes to New York and finds fame—without Chico. He eventually follows and does well for himself but the two don’t seem destined for love.
This is a soulful story set to an incredible jazz soundtrack. Have a tissue or two handy—you may just need them!
Filmed in Spain in 2016, “Julieta” is a multi-dimensional movie. It’s drama, romance and mystery—all at once—and that makes it one of those stories that’s so easy to fall into.
Highly-accredited Spanish director Pedro Almodovar pulled this critically-acclaimed masterpiece together. He did an excellent job showing not only the light moments in life but the gritty, darker ones as well.
When a middle-aged woman is about to embark on a new chapter by leaving Madrid and moving to Portugal with her boyfriend, part of her past surfaces and brings her plans to a halt. She’s estranged from her daughter, but a chance meeting pushes her to a decision to move to a location where, hopefully, her daughter will contact her.
This is a powerful story. Much of it’s shown as a flashback, so the viewer sees what happened to bring the story to this point. It’s what happens, however, that no one can see or predict.
I won’t lie. I cried when I watched this film. And that—getting so caught up in a movie that it evokes honest emotion—is a very good thing.
The filming aspect also makes this time well spent. The scenery is lovely.
“El libertador” (“The Liberator”)
“El libertador” was made in Venezuela in 2013. It’s a powerful, historically-rich film that portrays the action behind Simón Bolívar’s military campaigns. This political and military hero led over a hundred military operations in an effort to claim freedom from Spain for several countries, including his homeland, Venezuela.
He’s credited with leading an army that didn’t conquer, but rather liberated the people from oppression. Simón Bolívar is still considered an iconic figure in much of South America.
The drama is compelling and the costumes and hairstyles are fabulously on point.
Edgar Ramírez plays the lead role and does a magnificent job. The internal struggle between the soul of a man and his position as leader is seen throughout. He pulls moviegoers into the action and that caliber of acting, coupled with some beautiful cinematography, makes every minute of this film gripping.
“Los peloteros” (“The Ballplayers”)
Some have said that “Los peloteros” (“The Ballplayers”) is the best film to emerge from Puerto Rico. It was made in Puerto Rico in 1951 and is such a treasure that the Puerto Rican Institute of Culture provides it free on YouTube. There are no subtitles, and since most of the roles are played by locals, the phrases and speech patterns are wonderfully authentic.
This is the story of a poor village and a group of boys who want baseball uniforms for their team. It’s valuable because of the historical significance and social commentary. The boys on the team aren’t actors but kids from the village, and their plight isn’t manufactured. Times were hard, the village was poor and life wasn’t easy.
It is, however, heartwarming to watch this underdog team persist. It’s made even more intriguing because the reality is a complete attention-grabber. Prepare to be educated, entertained and exposed to authentic Spanish with this one!
“El olivo” (“The Olive Tree”)
Made in Spain in 2016, this is a dramatic story—the journey to reclaim a family’s 1,000-year-old olive tree.
While the olive tree is important, it’s symbolic in that it’s merely a vehicle to put across the themes of family solidarity, interpersonal relationships and the effect of “progress” on actual people.
This multi-generational cast could be anyone’s family—and that makes this film very endearing. The love between the two focal characters—a woman and her grandfather—is precious and this is an all-around sweet, compelling, heartwarming story.
The landscapes are breathtaking and travel buffs will enjoy seeing the countryside!
There are so many incredible Spanish language films available to stream that it makes sense to add them to a language learning program.
Films teach pronunciation, grammar and culture—and show that learning doesn’t always have to be “by the book.”
Now, grab some popcorn and enjoy!
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