15 Mexican Movies on Netflix Streaming (December 2018)

Mexican film is internationally celebrated and a great way to improve your Spanish. Mexican Spanish is my favorite Latin American variant of the language. For me, it’s the clearest and easiest to understand.

I’ve sifted through a lot of mediocre films to bring you my recommendations for the best Mexican movies on Netflix streaming in the US as of December 1, 2018; many may also be available in other countries. Watch them while you can, because content disappears as licensing agreements expire.

If you are an intermediate or advanced learner, I recommend watching with Spanish subtitles as studies have shown it enhances language learning. I also note down any interesting new vocabulary and add it to my Anki flashcards later.

Also don’t miss my general list of Spanish-language movies on Netflix!

1. Roma (2018)

This highly anticipated Netflix epic is an Oscar contender for Best Picture. Director Alfonso Cuarón delivers a vivid, emotional portrait of domestic life and social hierarchy set against Mexico’s political turmoil of the 1970s.

2. Coco (2017)

OK, this Oscar-winning Pixar production isn’t strictly a Mexican movie, but it’s a love letter to the traditions, music, and people of Mexico. Its authenticity and warmth of spirit won viewers’ hearts and made it the biggest blockbuster in Mexican history.

Be sure to switch the audio to Spanish.

3.  Desierto (2015)

Tense survival thriller about a group of illegal border crossers hunted by a deranged Confederate-flag waving vigilante. Eerily relevant in today’s political climate.

4. El Alien y Yo (2016)

Hoping to reinvent their sound, a punk band hires Pepe, a keyboardist with Down syndrome, but jealousies erupt when he steals the show. Heart-warming comedy with a great soundtrack.

5. Como Agua Para Chocolate (1992)

Netflix has brought back this classic tale of forbidden love expressed through one woman’s passionate cooking. A beautiful and enigmatic film full of magical realism. Based on the popular novel by Mexican novelist Laura Esquivel of the same name.

6. La Dictadura Perfecta (2014)

Hilarious Mexican box-office smash by the director of Infierno about political corruption and media collusion with the government. The themes of this satire are universal, however. A long film but not a dull moment.

7. La 4ª Compañía (2016)

Intensely violent and fascinating prison film based on real events. A young inmate in Mexico’s most notorious penitentiary joins the prison’s American football team, which doubles as a death squad for the corrupt administration.

8. Cartel Land (2015)

Warning: graphic scenes of violence, and it’s only half in Spanish. But this riveting Oscar-nominated documentary provides unprecedented access to the chilling, brutal conflict between vigilante groups and murderous Mexican drug cartels. It helped me grasp the soul-crushing futility of a struggle in which the lines between good and evil are so hopelessly blurred.

9. Verónica (2017)

Disturbing psychological thriller artfully shot in black and white about a reclusive psychologist who agrees to treat a troubled patient at her remote cabin. Not to be confused with the Spanish horror movie of the same name. Builds at a slow, suspenseful pace to an astonishing twist at the end.

10. Semana Santa (2015)

A single mother, her boyfriend and her young son take a weeklong resort vacation, during which relationship strains take their toll. A keenly observed film with subtle depth that examines dysfunctional family secrets against the backdrop of a decaying Acapulco.

11. ¿Qué Culpa Tiene el Niño? (2016)

After a drunken one-night stand leads to pregnancy, a woman attempts to build a relationship with the immature father-to-be. If you like light rom-coms, check this one out. Warning: some racist jokes (note that this type of humor is common in Mexico and isn’t considered offensive). This type of movie isn’t really my cup of tea, but I enjoyed the locations in Mexico City and picked up some fun new slang: wasapear (“to send a WhatsApp message”),  Brincos dieras (“You wish”), and asaltacunas (“cradle robber”).

12. Las Elegidas (2015)

Powerful and chilling film about teenage girls kidnapped and forced into prostitution in Tijuana.

13. Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

Erotic road movie about two hedonistic teens who convince an attractive older woman to embark on a beach trip with them. A classic of modern Mexican cinema. Lots of crude slang.

14. Almacenados (2015)

Award-winning absurd comedy featuring acclaimed Mexican actor José Carlos Ruiz about two employees in a enormous empty warehouse where apparently nothing ever happens. This deceptively simple, slow-paced film pays off with its fine writing and superb acting. The dialogue is nicely paced for Spanish learners.

15. Estar o No Estar

Set in the beautiful Pueblo Mágico of Tlacotalpan, Veracruz, this film tells the story of a lonely, ill man who recalls a brief but powerful past romance with a kindred spirit, a young Russian woman.

More Netflix Mexican Movie Suggestions

One more movie with good reviews I haven’t had a chance to watch:

  • México Bárbaro – Horror anthology of eight shorts exploring creepy Mexican legends like Island of the Dolls or cartel blood rituals, each by a different director. Strong warning: Not for the squeamish. Watch the trailer.

Have more Netflix movie recommendations? Please share your suggestions in the comments.

Banner image © Lucha Mexico (sadly no longer on Netflix)

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Best Mexican Movies on Netflix for Spanish Learners

7 Comments on “15 Mexican Movies on Netflix Streaming (December 2018)

  1. Some of these sound intriguing even though I’m not trying to learn Spanish! 😉 Now I just need a Netflix account and more free time …

    • One or two of these are also available on DVD, but yeah, mostly there’s very little overlap between the Netflix DVD and streaming catalogs. Which is why I pay for both subscriptions… grrr.

  2. There is a movie I really enjoyed and I believe it should make it on the list.
    “El cumple de la abuela” gets 6 stars on IMDb and you should check it out, it’s worth it.
    I also enjoy the Mexican Spanish and culture, and even though it’s my third language (English is second, Romanian first), I’m very fluent and I also know the slang.

    • Hola Alex, muchas gracias por la sugerencia. I’ve added it to my queue to check out! Comedies like that can be awesome for learning colloquial Spanish. Thanks for stopping by, y suerte con tu aprendizaje!

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