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 recommend some of the best Mexican movies on Netflix streaming in the US as of December 3, 2019; 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!
This Oscar-winning Netflix epic directed by Alfonso Cuarón delivers a vivid, emotional portrait of domestic life and social hierarchy set against Mexico’s political turmoil of the 1970s.
No English subtitles available for YouTube trailer. Click to watch trailer on Netflix.
This beautiful 28-minute documentary short tells the incredible story of Mexican runner Lorena Ramírez, who wins international ultramarathons in traditional dress and sandals.
Lorena lives a pastoral life in the mountains of Chihuahua as part of the indigenous Rarámuri community, also known as the Tarahumara. The Rarámuri are famed for their extraordinary long-distance running skills. The very word rarámuri means “light-footed.”
Some dialogue in Rarámuri.
This feel-good half-hour film takes an inspiring look at two celebrated sister restaurants on different sides of the US-Mexico border.
Set in both Mexico City and San Francisco, the documentary short explores the ways in which a restaurant can serve as a place of dignity and close-knit community.
A mother and young son escape into a magical world of their imagination listening to radio plays and watching movies to transform the drudgery of their lives in rural Mexico.
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.
This gritty, absorbing documentary follows three prisoners who try to overcome feelings of despair and make sense of their lives behind bars — and on the outside — through rap.
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.
Gritty, claustrophobic survival thriller. After a devastating earthquake hits Mexico City, trapped survivors from all walks of life wait to be rescued while trying desperately to stay alive.
The film’s title reflects the exact time when the devastating Sept. 19, 1985, Mexico City earthquake began.
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.
Original rom-com about an insomniac, an aspiring photographer, and a pregnant veterinarian who form a unique friendship during late-night meetings at a 24-hour mini-mart.
A documentary about 43 Mexican students forcibly disappeared after being violently detained by police, and the unsatisfactory slow investigation that followed both at state and federal levels. Oscar-winning Mexican director Guillermo del Toro co-produced the film to ensure these voices are heard.
Poignant portrait of the vedettes, former queens of the racy Mexican burlesque scene. A compassionate examination of what the aging process means for women in a profession in which success is predicated on youthful beauty and erotic appeal.
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.
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.
Powerful and chilling film about teenage girls kidnapped and forced into prostitution in Tijuana.
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.
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.
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.
This powerful 28-minute documentary captures the joy and heartbreak of families separated by the US-Mexico border sharing a short, bittersweet reunion in 2018.
Executive-produced by Gael Garcia Bernal.
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Have more Netflix Mexican movie recommendations? Please share your suggestions in the comments.
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Ingrid early retired from software engineering at 43 to devote herself to language learning and travel. Her goal is to learn a new language to fluency every two years. Currently, she speaks English, German, and Spanish, and is learning Portuguese.