Best films to learn French

films

We wanted to recommend the best films to watch French because when you’re learning a foreign language, you don’t want to spend all your time in the classroom, or using textbooks. Instead you want to get involved with that language, and that means speaking it, reading books and of course, watching movies.

Movies don’t just help you to learn a language but they give you an insight into the culture of a country as well. You can immerse yourself in a French world without going to France if you watch movies and listen to music and read French books.

And now that we have the internet and more importantly Netflix, it’s never been easier. Here is our list of best films to learn French. Some you may have heard of and other you may not, but they are all incredible films and you should probably watch them at some point anyway even if you weren’t learning French.

Our favourite French films to learn French

The intouchables

French title:

What’s it about?

Our number one favourite French film in the intouchables and we don’t think we’re alone.

Aristocratic Philippe is left paralysed after a paragliding accident and looking for someone to help take care of home. Sick of dealing with sycophants and people trying to please him, when Driss walks in for an interview with no real interest in the job, Philippe decides to hire him. At first Driss isn’t happy with this as he was only showing up to the interview for his dole money and had no intention of getting the job, but when he moves into the mansion he quickly changes his mind.

Soon the two bond and an unlikely friendship blossoms, where Driss gets to experience things he never would and Philippe gets to spend time with someone who doesn’t pity him or treat him like a child.

This film is heart warming, hilarious and in our opinion the best film to have come out of France. We would highly recommend watching it.

The Climb

French title: L’ascension

What’s it about?

Based on a true story, the Climb follows a young man from a poor area of Paris, with no job and no prospects climb the highest mountain in the world in order to declare his love to a girl.

The film is fun and light hearted and nearly impossible to believe that it was actually based on a true story. No one should try and climb Everest completely unprepared with no climbing experience but somehow Samy manages to pull it off to prove his love to Nadia. (When all she really actually wanted was for him to get a job to prove he could support her)

Amelie

French title: Amelie

What’s it about?

Amelie is a classic and perhaps the most famous French film of all time, with one of the most beautiful sound tracks of all time. Even today it remains the highest grossing French film released in the USA.

Amelie brought French cinema to the international market and romanticised Paris for everyone. The film follows a young Parisian girl in her quest to find love and deal with her loneliness whilst trying to help others. Home schooled all her life and losing her mother at a young age made Amelie a strange girl who retreated further into herself and the world of her imaginations.

He even has your eyes

French title: Il a déjà tes yeux

What’s it about?

You’ve heard of white people adopting black babies but not black people adopting white babies, or at least not in France. Paul and Salimata are a couple who are desperate to start a family, and when they can’t do it alone, they decide to adopt.

But when they are faced with a white baby, it is not only them who has to come to terms having such a modern family in Paris. They are met with protests from their parents, from society and from a meddling social worker, but the end it always come down to how well a parent can love a child.

I am not an easy man

French title: Je ne suis pas un homme facile

What’s it about?

Damien has it all, money, looks, a successful job but with one downside; he is an unbelievable sexist. Unfortunately that seems to work out very well for him, until he has an accident where everything changes.

Think Freaky Friday meets What Women Want. Damien finds himself in a world where women hold the positions that men did and men stay at home with the children.

The strange twist of events leads him to find the female version of himself and to ultimately fall in love. But can it possibly work out? Well watch it and find out while you’re practising your French.

Serial bad weddings

French title: Qu’est-ce qu’on a fait au Bon Dieu ?

What’s it about?

I’ve heard people describe serial (bad) weddings as racist film but I would have to disagree. It’s a film that deals with stereotypes and racism in France but ultimately has a warm message that’s delivered in a funny way.

Claude and Marie are French, traditional, Catholics with four daughters. Their first child marries a Chinese man, their second child marries a muslim and their third child marries a jew. When they hear their third child is getting married to a catholic they are relieved, until they meet him and find out he is black.

The film deals with the family’s prejudices and how they need to put these aside for the happiness of their daughter.

It’s a film that probably wouldn’t be made in the USA, but looks at some important issues within French society and talks about them in this comedy.

Blue is the warmest colour

French title: La Vie d’Adèle

What’s it about?

As well as being a great French film to watch, it’s also one of the biggest LGBT films of all time.

Blue is the warmest colour is the love story of two teenage girls as they meet each each, fall in love and discover their sexualities.

Adèle is an introverted girl who can’t quite find her place in the world until she passes a blue haired girl in the street and decides she has to meet her. The movie then follows them through their teenage years and into early adulthood, dealing with issues of sexuality, relationships and social class. It really is a must watch film for many reasons but the most important: to improve your French.

Final thoughts on these best films to learn French

A lot of the films mentioned in the list deal with issues of race and sexism in French society. Some of them deal with issues that people may find offensive but putting them into film is admitting that they’re a thing and that they’re a part of French society.

When you’re learning a language, you’re not just learning that language, you’re learning about the culture of a country too. It’s impossible to not watch a film and get a taste of the culture and I believe that these films can do that for you.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of best films to learn French. If you have any recommendations for French films to watch to improve your French then please let us know in the comments below. We’re always looking for recommendations.

Now you’re done with best films to help with your French, check out our French graded reader recommendations here.

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