It’s 8pm. You want to relax. But you should do something productive. Like practice your Spanish, maybe. But you’ve also earned the right to do nothing at all…haven’t you?
That’s how my mental back-and-forth goes, at least. Luckily, there’s a very happy medium: watch a movie…in Spanish. Whether you’re trying to learn the language or you already speak it pretty well and don’t want to lose it for lack of practice, Spanish-language movies are the middle road to a perfectly productive and relaxing evening at home.
So, grab your snacks, snuggle under your blanket, and put on one of these 7 films. Listo?
The Motorcycle Diaries
This movie stars Gael García Bernal as a young Che Guevara on the motorcycle trip that would inspire his proletariat passion, changing the trajectory of his life and Cuban history. Based on Che’s memoir, The Motorcycle Diaries is a visually gorgeous and inspiring travelogue. It won one Oscar and was nominated for/won countless other awards around the world. Perfect for a night when the wanderlust hits particularly hard.
(Adventure, Biography, Drama| 126 minutes | rated R | Watch the trailer)
Ofelia is an imaginative young girl, the stepdaughter of a sadistic army captain and, potentially, the long-lost princess of a mythical realm. Against the backdrop of fascist Spain in 1944, in a world swirling with mystery and dark intentions, the sweet and innocent Ofelia leads us to another land—one where we can never quite decide whether it’s a dark place or just a strange one. Pan’s Labyrinth is completely captivating and, at times, heartbreaking. But, both visually and thematically, it’s one of the most beautiful movies you’ll see. This movie won three Oscars (including best cinematography) and was nominated for three more. Watch it when you want a truly rich film, and don’t mind feeling some feels (i.e. you might cry). Directed by Guillermo del Toro.
(Drama, Fantasy, War | 118 minutes | rated R | Watch the trailer)
The Secret in Their Eyes
With an old, unsolved crime, an unrequited love, and, at the center of it all, a writer determined to put the story to paper, this movie has all the makings of a gripping drama. Through dozens of awards and an Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film of 2010, the people have spoken: whatever this secret is, it’s one you want to learn more about. So when you’re in the mood for an edge-of-your-seat experience, feast your eyes on this movie.
(Drama, Mystery, Thriller | 118 minutes | rated R | Watch the trailer)
A movie about a con artist? Cool. A movie about two con artists unaccustomed to working together, trying to pull off the biggest con of their careers? Who can say no? As Marcos and Juan try to complete the job that will send them to an early retirement, they must contend with, among others, a corrupt policeman, a cunning fox, and a saucy old lady. There are crimes and there are capers, and this film is full of the shenanigans that put it squarely in the latter category. Nine Queens is a crowd-pleaser and the winning movie at numerous film festivals. For something fun and thrilling, watch this.
(Crime, Drama, Thriller | 114 minutes| rated R | Watch the trailer)
Ladrón Que Roba a Ladrón
From the upbeat music to the suave, cheeky thieves, Ladrón Que Roba a Ladrón is reminiscent of a Latino Ocean’s Eleven. And, like in Ocean’s Eleven, the thieves rob a person who is a thief of himself (hence the title): a TV infomercial guru, who makes his fortune selling bogus health products to gullible old Latinos. Watch this light, fun heist flick for a laid-back and pleasant night.
(Action, Adventure, Comedy | 98 minutes | rated PG-13 | Watch the trailer)
All About My Mother
This character-driven drama centers around the lives and conflicts of a series of women: Manuela, a single mother whose son recently died in a car accident; Huma, an actress whose partner is struggling with drug addiction; and Sister Rosa, a sweet nun (played by Penélope Cruz) with a cynical mother. Directed by Pedro Almodóvar, this film won an Oscar and a Golden Globe in 2000 for the Best Foreign Language Film, as well as numerous other awards around the world. When you’re in the mood for a classic story of love, loss, compassion and redemption, gather your best girlfriends and watch this film.
(Drama | 101 minutes | rated R | Watch the trailer)
It’s 1969, Argentina. Valentin is a 10-year old boy, often one of the more reasonable people in the room, and as precocious as those children tend to be. With his parents absent, Valentino is raised by a widowed grandmother, who treats him, simulatenously, as an adult and a baby. While holding the calm center of a disfunctional family, Valentin is trying to learn how to be a man…and also an astronaut. Charming and sweet, this is a ‘smile softly’ kind of movie.
(Comedy, Drama, Romance | 86 minutes | rated PG-13 | Watch the trailer)