Wish you could just sit back, watch a movie, eat some popcorn, and learn French? Maybe you can.
Whether you’re still a beginner or you’ve been learning French for some time, watching French films might sound a little scary at first. You don’t know what to watch. You’re worried you won’t be able to understand anything. While it’s true that films meant for native speakers can be a little difficult to follow, there are a few ways to improve the experience. There are also plenty of great movies to start with.
Tips for watching French films
Use French subtitles
For some language learners, being able to watch movies without relying on subtitles is a big goal. However, that doesn’t mean you should feel ashamed for using them!
Just be sure to watch with French subtitles. They can be especially helpful with quick dialogue and unfamiliar accents.
Watch something you’ll enjoy
You don’t have to watch a film you don’t care for just because it’s easy to understand (or because it’s the only one you can find). In fact, you’re more likely to learn more when you’re invested in what’s going on.
Have a notebook nearby
Watching movies is a great way to learn new words in context. Though, sometimes, you still need to look things up.
Instead of pausing or trying to remember every new word you come across, keep a notebook and pen nearby to write down any words that stand out. That way you can look them up later.
6 must-see French films
La Marche de l’Empereur
Are you a fan of documentaries?
They’re not the first choice for most people, but French beginners might find this nature documentary both fascinating and easy to follow.
For starters, there’s only one narrator with a clear speaking voice. You also don’t have to worry about tricky slang words. Finally, if you’ve seen the English version, you already know what happens.
Kirikou et la Sorcière
Those who enjoy animated films should definitely check this one out. In fact, lots of movies meant for kids are great options for French learners because they often follow familiar patterns.
In addition to having easy-to-follow French, Kirikou et la Sorcière is a great introduction to French African accents.
Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie
Chances are you’ve already heard of this film, also known simply as Amélie. This quirky French classic follows Amélie Poulain as she tries to bring joy to those around her.
Overall, if you’re a fan of light comedy and Audrey Tautou, give this movie a try.
When it comes to feel good movies, Les Choristes is one you shouldn’t miss. It follows the story of a teacher at a boys’ boarding school who does his best to positively influence his students by starting a choir. In short, it’s musical, touching, and uplifting.
Plus, the plot is easy to follow, so French learners can watch it without feeling completely lost.
Le Dîner de Cons
Intermediate French learners might want to have a good laugh with this film.
The plot revolves around a group of friends who challenge each other to bring the “stupidest person” they can to dinner. You can only imagine how such an idea could backfire.
The comedy in this film isn’t too difficult for French learners to follow, though the dialogue can be a bit more challenging compared to the other films on this list.
Les Parapluies de Cherbourg
Are you a fan of musicals? If so, this romantic drama from 1964 is the perfect introduction to a French film that sings every line.
For some French learners, the fact that lines are sung rather than spoken can actually make it easier to understand. Fans of classic films will also appreciate the old-time charm and drama.
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