14 Mexican Movies on Netflix Streaming (February 2018)

Mexican Spanish is my favorite Latin American variant of the language. For me, it’s the clearest and easiest to understand. I also love the Mexican culture and its people.

Mexican cinema is internationally celebrated and a great way to improve your Spanish. 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.

I’ve sifted through a lot of mediocre films to bring you my recommendations for the best Mexican movies streaming on US Netflix as of February 21, 2017. Watch them while you can, because content disappears as licensing agreements expire.

1.  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.

2. 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.

3. Gloria (2015)

Entertaining biopic based on the life of rebellious Mexican pop diva Gloria Trevi, whose career came crashing down due to a controversial sex scandal.

4. Los Jefes (2015)

Enjoyable low-budget gem created by and starring hip-hop group Cartel de Santa, who wanted to expose the brutality of narcotrafficking in their hometown of Nuevo León, Monterrey. Plenty of action and suspense and a few scenes of graphic violence. The lack of professional actors provides an authentic feel. Lots of northern Mexican slang.

5. 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.

6. Narco Cultura (2013)

Similar in theme to Cartel Land, although less compelling, but still definitely worth watching. Most interviews are in Spanish. This gripping documentary contrasts the harrowing reality of bloodstained Juárez with the unsettling glorification of murderous drug traffickers in popular narcocorrido ballads.

7. Lucha Mexico (2016)

Enormously entertaining behind-the-scenes look at the colorful spectacle of lucha libre, a form of Mexican pro wrestling performed by masked superheroes and villains. Most interviews are in Spanish.

8. 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.

9. ¿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. 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”).

10. Año Bisiesto (2010)

Dark and compelling drama about a lonely journalist in Mexico City who enters into an increasingly violent sadomasochistic relationship.

11. Las Elegidas (2015)

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

12. 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.

13. Aquí entre nos (2011)

Cute, heartfelt comedy about a loving family that overcomes the midlife crises of both parents. Lighthearted and fun.

14. También la Lluvia (2010)

OK, it’s Spanish, not Mexican, but this film stars omnipresent Mexican actor Gael García Bernal as a director who travels to Bolivia to shoot a film depicting Christopher Columbus’s conquest. The crew find themselves facing a moral crisis as the Bolivian film extras violently protest the privatization of their water supply, paralleling the Spanish exploitation of the New World.

More Suggestions

More movies with good reviews I haven’t had a chance to watch:

  • 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.
  • Elvira, Te Daría Mi Vida Pero la Estoy Usando – When her husband goes out for cigarettes and never returns, 40-year-old mother of two Elvira goes searching for the truth.

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

All images © Netflix

7 Comments on “14 Mexican Movies on Netflix Streaming (February 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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