Ah, Netflix. You may be cancelling half the shows we love, or suggesting us things that show you really don't know us at all. But you're still our favourite place to go when we need something new to watch! Especially us language lovers; where else would we go for films and shows in our target language when we're learning?
If you haven't already jumped on the bandwagon of using Netflix to help you to improve your French, here are some suggestions you should really look into!
Le scaphandre et le papillon
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly at first glance might make you think of something like Me Before You, but it isn't that miserable at all! This film is based on the true story of Elle magazine editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, paralysed by a stroke back in 1995. Bauby's scope of communication narrowed to only being able to blink his left eye, though with a patient assistant holding up an alphabet that he blinked at individual letters of, he was able to write a book!
What is great from a language learning perspective about this film is that it is told in the first person, so the language is automatically put in your voice, meaning you can feel how it should be said. It's also a surprisingly upbeat and positive film despite the subject content, which seems like a great way to brush up on a language!
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Yes, there is a recommendation on here that you might have already watched! Amélie is a great choice of film if you are newer to learning French or just want an 'easy' watch to freshen up what you already know. Amélie is a lovely, whimsical character who quietly goes about her life in Paris looking for ways to bring joy to others. It is beautifully shot so you have a stunning visual to look at as you are learning, the language isn't particularly complicated, and it's the kind of film that you come away from watching with a big smile. Is there a nicer way to practice language?
Il a déjà tes yeux
He Even Has Your Eyes is beautiful! You would think that a film looking at racism and the difficulties surrounding transracial adoption would be serious, morose, and hard to watch. Not so this film! This is a comedy that doesn't so much as make light of a difficult subject, but does highlight how absurd our preconceived ideas about race really can be. All while drawing you into a family that means well but at times is clueless — like most families! What is lovely about this as a tool for learning French is that at times it feels like you are part of this family. It's almost as though you are absorbing the language as you sit down for Mafé with them!
The Painting is an animated film about characters who live within a painting. With inspiration taken from Chagall, Matisse, and Picasso the story follows these characters as they debate their status based on how 'finished' they are, ponder who their creator might be, and overall shine a light on some interesting social and philosophical ideals.
This is great for those learning French because the dialogue is very clear and easy to follow. You are likely to latch on to one or two characters that you will then follow throughout the film and become accustomed to their way of talking, meaning you are likely to pick up vocabulary without even realising you are doing it! And aside from all of that, what better way to brush up on your French than by watching an animation that is essentially a love letter to some of the greatest art Masters?
Our last choice is Dheepan, which is not an easy film. Not for its French content, which is wonderful, but the subject that it talks about. It follows the lives of three Sri Lankan refugees who have escaped a life of war but find themselves in the seedier side of Paris, living in an area rife with drugs and gangs. This is a dark though empathic look at what it means to be a refugee, meaning you will pick up some specific vocabulary related to the refugee crisis as you watch. Make no mistake, this is a beautifully-made film, and an excellent choice for practicing your French with. Just don't be surprised if you learn some other difficult things besides language!
There are so many great French films and shows on Netflix at the moment. The first step is to choose one that you like. Then the second step might be, once you’re ready to take your French skills to the next level, to consider taking 1-on-1 French classes. Here at Listen & Learn, our teachers are all fully-qualified native speaking professionals hired for their experience and their passion for teaching. So place a quick inquiry now, and our friendly customer service people are going to get back to you as soon as possible.