5 Awesome Spanish Movies on Netflix to Watch Right Now
One of the perks of learning a new language is that it opens doors to new cultural experiences. Watching Spanish movies on Netflix gives the experience a more authentic feeling since the words come directly from the actor’s voice and intent. Reading along with the subtitles is a great way to practice your listening skills.
In my experience, the best results come from watching the movie twice, first without subtitles, and then again with subtitles. This way you’ll get the gist of the plot the first time, enough to understand what’s going on. When you watch it a second time, you’ll know what to expect and you’ll catch any details you missed the first time you watched it.
With the extra indoor time most of us have had recently, watching a couple of Spanish movies on Netflix is the perfect way to experience something new without leaving your house. Let’s take a look at 6 awesome Spanish movies on Netflix (and some series) you can watch right now!
Las Chicas del Cable (Cable Girls)
Set in the early 1900s, Las Chicas del Cable tells the story of an old-timey telecommunications company and the women who work there. The story has themes of romance, sexism, drama, and some femme fatale spy action. It’s entertaining and great to keep you on the edge of your seat.
One of my favorite things about this show is that party scenes have modern music instead of era-appropriate 1920s music. It’s a total treat to see the characters have fun with beats that are more relatable for the youth of our time, connecting our experience with the lives of teens and young adults from a century ago.
If you’re a psychology major in a Spanish-speaking country like me, no doubt you had this movie recommended to you over and over again during your classes. I’ve also heard film students talk about it, and even my mom seems to love it! TOC is an acronym that stands for Trastorno Obsesivo Compulsivo, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in English. If you’re watching just one film from our list of Spanish movies on Netflix, this should be it.
This movie is an adaptation of a French play with the same premise. When a group of six patients with different kinds of OCD wait for their belated therapist at his office, they start sharing their lives and experiences with each other. The movie is funny, uncomfortable, and a great crash course on OCD according to many psychology professors!
Yo Soy Betty, La Fea
Have you heard of the TV show Ugly Betty? Did you know it was originally a Colombian telenovela from 1999? This show was so famous you’ll probably never meet a 2000s Latin American kid who doesn’t know about it. To be honest, the premise of a deliberately ugly hero in a world of fashion and beauty can feel a little outdated at times, but enough of the story holds up to make it an interesting watch in this day and age.
Yo Soy Betty, La Fea has infidelity, treason, and corporate secrets taking place in the biggest Colombian fashion company in this imaginary world. The essence of this show is about the story of a poor girl struggling to maintain herself and her family, rising up the ranks in her company, and defending herself from the vicious stereotypes of the fashion industry. Will Betty find financial stability and love? Watch it and find out!
This show ran for a long time, so by the time you finish it, you’ll be a much better Spanish speaker than when you started.
31 Minutos might be my favorite from this list. This Chilean show is about a news channel that’s run by a group of misfit puppets such as sock monkeys, teddy bears, and a depressed red rabbit that find themselves in all sorts of shenanigans when trying to deliver the news. If you like kids shows that are fun for the whole family (or if you’re like me and still watch cartoons), this is a great pick!
This show has a bunch of songs about the joys and sorrows of a kid’s life, with hits such as Equilibrio Espiritual (Spiritual Balance), a song about taking the training wheels off your bike. Another great song has the self-explanatory title Señora, devuélvame la pelota o si no, no sé lo que haré (Mam, please give me back my ball, otherwise I don’t know what to do.)
This show also covers some real news about the preservation of natural resources and clean living lifestyles, teaching you about topics such as beekeeping, natural reserves in Chile, and sewage water management. These bits are told by a poetic and depressed rabbit puppet with a crossed eye and a gambling problem. How do people come up with these things?!
La Dictadura Perfecta (The Perfect Dictatorship)
Most people who recommend Spanish movies on Netflix talk about this one. One of the saddest things about Latin America is that corrupt governments have been around long enough that we’ve come to see them as the norm. This Mexican film grabs a phrase from a famous writer who said:
“México es la dictadura perfecta. Porque es la dictadura camuflada, de tal modo que puede parecer no ser una dictadura. Pero tiene, si uno escarba, todas las características de una dictadura.” – Mario Vargas Llosa
Mexico is the perfect dictatorship. Because it’s camouflaged in such a way that it can look like it’s not a dictatorship. But it has, if you dig them out, all the characteristics of a dictatorship.
And so famous director Luis Estrada took inspiration from this line to make a movie about just that. The president of Mexico teams up with a large media company to help him save face and stay in power through lies and manipulation after a scandal leaves the internet full of unwanted memes about him. The whole movie is based on actual political controversies from Mexico, putting them all out in the open for the public to learn about. The film even starts by saying:
En esta historia, todos los nombre son ficticios.
Los hechos, sospechosamente verdaderos.
Cualquier parecido o semejanza con la realidad no es mera coincidencia.
In this story, all names are fake.
The events that occur are suspiciously true.
Any resemblance to reality is not purely coincidental.
Cheeky commentary, right? If you want a rough criticism of Latin American politics with humorous undertones, look no further than La Dictadura Perfecta. If you like watching these kinds of Spanish movies on Netflix, check out Luis Estrada’s other excellent movies!
Watching Spanish movies on Netflix is not going to be enough if you want to expand your vocabulary. Luckily, we live in a time where sharing information has become so streamlined we don’t even notice anymore! So let me share some tips on how to improve your retention when watching Spanish movies on Netflix:
- Keep a translator app handy while watching the movie to quickly search for unknown words.
- Play the film with subtitles in Spanish to practice reading and comprehension.
- Sit with (or video chat) your Spanish-speaking friends and ask them to help you understand the cool new Spanish movie you found.
- Write down words you don’t understand and look them up later.
- Watch with English subtitles to learn words you don’t know in real-time.
¡Comamos Palomitas con Tajín!
Learning Spanish is fun! Grab your popcorn with chili powder and watch a movie for your next Spanish class. Seek out the vocabulary and follow along with Spanish subtitles. There are so many awesome things you can do to learn with Spanish movies on Netflix.
Do you have any Spanish movies on Netflix or any binge-worthy show recommendations for us? Let us know with a comment down below!
Looking for more Spanish entertainment? Check out these posts!
- 25 Spanish Riddles for Language Learners of Every Level (+ FREE PDF) - February 23, 2021
- 19 Spellbinding Spanish Audiobooks on Spotify - February 18, 2021
- 5 Spanish Board Games Your Kids Will Thank You For - February 18, 2021