So now you are in Barcelona, taking a course as you learn Spanish abroad. You practice as much as you can outside the classroom, but you want to go an extra mile to learn Spanish.
Or perhaps you have yet to arrive in a foreign country, and you want to get a jump start. We have a great idea for you! It’s not a method to learn while you sleep (I wish); but it’s learning while pretty much-doing nothing more than relaxing: watching a movie in Spanish!
Why learn Spanish from movies?
There are a thousand reasons why watching a movie is a good idea to improve your Spanish. First, it’s super nice and it does not require a lot of energy. If you are completely exhausted after a day at school and doing all this homework, it is an activity that does not require much effort, and you can feel the benefits rather quickly.
The movies show you the language in their context, which are conversations. It’s different from books or media, in movies, everything is oral and that’s what you’ll miss most during your studies at school. It is an excellent complement to learn common Spanish words and to hear all the different accents. The movies present situations of everyday life (most of the time) and will help you to improve the usual small talks (at the market, at the bus stop, in a bar …). And on top of that, you can also invite your new Spanish and South-American friends to watch the movie with you or show people you meet that you know a little about their culture.
How do I learn Spanish from movies?
You can watch a movie you’ve already seen dubbed in English or with English subtitles, but this time with Spanish subtitles, or even without subtitles at all depending on your level. You will be exposed to the language, to the accents, to the prosody of Spanish, and this is one of the best ways to learn. If you are tired, you can put the subtitles in English. Do not feel guilty, you do what you can and you should always feel like it’s a fun activity.
Very important as well: Watch a movie that sounds great and does not force yourself to watch something if the plot does not interest you. Learn Spanish abroad and at home should be fun and exciting!
We have prepared a great list of movies for you to learn, we bet there is one there that will catch your attention.
There are also many movies in English that are actual remakes of Spanish speaking films (like Vanilla Sky). If you have seen some of them, you could watch the Spanish version, as you already know the story it will be easier. And do not hesitate to watch movies with one or more people, you can help each other and then discuss the film together, or even pause when one does not understand, etc. If you have the energy, you can also write the new words you have learned or the most emblematic sentences.
Our list of great movies to learn Spanish
We have prepared a small selection of films for beginners (level A1-A2).
El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth).
This fantasy movie by Guillermo del Toro talks about the Spanish Civil War. Carmen settles with her daughter Ofelia at her new husband’s house, a captain of the Franco army. While Ofelia resents her new life, she discovers a mysterious labyrinth. Pan, the guardian of the place, will reveal to her that she is the lost princess of an enchanted kingdom…
Los Amantes del Circulo polar (Lovers of the Arctic Circle)
This film is all about destiny and especially love and the circumstances that lead to the encounter of two people. Otta and Anna meet while they are only children and their parents get married, making them stepbrothers. An indestructible bond is created between them. Julio Medém presents a delicate film about love and family, with a touch of mystery (and you will cry).
8 apelidos vascos and 8 apelidos catalanes (Spanish Affair and Eight Catalan Surnames)
These two movies talk about the cultural differences between the different regions of Spain. In these two films, the clash of cultures is what creates the comedy. A guy from Andalusia goes to the North, to the Basque Country, and has a massive cultural shock, while in the second film he goes to Catalonia (and Barcelona); it is really hilarious. The dialogues are pretty simple to understand, but in addition, you will learn all about the clichés of different Spanish regions from the point of view of the Spanish themselves. You’ll tell us if the movie reminds you of things you have seen and felt while in Barcelona (especially when it comes to independence, etc.). A good entertainment, and also one of the most popular films ever released in Spain. Everyone has seen them!
El secreto en sus ojos (The Secret In Their Eyes)
And now we’ll recommend you a masterpiece of the Argentinean cinema. So yes, the accent is slightly different, and so charming! This is the adaptation of Eduardo Sacheri’s book, La pregunta de sus ojos. In 1999 in Buenos Aires, a retired officer of the Federal Ministry of Justice tries to write the story of a criminal case he had to deal with 25 years earlier: the rape and murder in 1974 of a young married woman. The film won the Goya Award for Best Foreign Language Film in Spanish in 2010 and the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film the same year.
Fun Fact: A famous elevator scene from this movie was filmed in the very same building at Expanish Spanish School Buenos Aires!
We sincerely hope that you will follow our advice and learn Spanish with movies. If you have other films to suggest, do not hesitate to leave a comment!