How to choose a good movie to practice English

Watching movies in English can be one of the best ways to improve your English. There is no doubt that it’s easier to learn something if you are having fun and enjoying what you are doing. However, for lower level students watching a movie in English sometimes can be a torture. It is not fun when everybody is laughing or crying and you don’t understand what’s going on.

My students always ask me about the best movies to practice their English. I honestly don’t know much about movies because I don’t like to watch commercial movies. I prefer to watch movies about real and meaningful stories. I have to admit that I’m not the kind of person that can suggest a movie to pass time. Each person has different preferences in regards of movies. However, I can give you some tips so you can choose a good movie yourself.

Tip # 1

Watch a movie that you would watch in your first language. Don’t watch a movie just because everybody is watching it. The same rule should apply to books. Just because Shakespeare was the most famous English writer of all times, it doesn’t mean that you must read “Romeo and Juliet”.

Tip # 2

Watch a movie that you have already watched in your first language. When you already know what the story is about it is easier to focus on the vocabulary and new expressions. It’s not easy to learn new phrases and expressions if you don’t understand the plot.

Tip # 3

Don’t try to understand everything the first time you watch a movie in English. It is okay not to understand everything. It is okay to watch the same movie many times. It is okay to watch a movie with subtitles in English several times.

Tip # 4

Try to memorize the dialogues or songs of your favorite scenes. If your favorite movie is a Hollywood movie or a Disney movie, watch it in English and try to memorize the dialogues. I’m sure that you have already memorized some dialogues in your first language. It will be super easy to memorize the dialogues in English.

Other teachers may have different opinions. Thus, you have to follow the advice that is good for your learning style and your learning capabilities. I’m sharing my advice as an ESL teacher who has worked with literacy and beginner students for a number of years. I have seen how torturing it is for someone who doesn’t understand what is going on to enjoy something that is supposed to be fun.

Remember that watching movies is a hobby and hobbies are meant to be pleasant, not torturing.

I would like to share with you three English movies that according to my students are easy to understand even for lower levels:

1. Little Boy

2. Bella

3. McFarland

If you watched any of these movies, I’d love to hear your comments. Did you like it? Why?
If you watched the three movies, tell me which one was your favorite. Why?

Keep up the good work.

Keep practicing your English.

Remember that practice is FUN!!


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