Watching a film in a foreign language is a great way of improving your language skills. Not only does it do wonders for your listening and comprehension skills, but it is also a very enjoyable way of incorporating language learning into your free time. Tuning your ear into everyday colloquial French will massively enhance your ability to engage and communicate with native speakers.
If you are keen to make solid progress with your language learning then it may be a good idea to take a note of new words and phrases you come across when watching a French film. However, be careful not to get too carried away writing out the full script! Remember, watching a foreign film should be an enjoyable and relaxing experience; you will be absorbing the French accent without even realising it.
When it comes to choosing which French film to watch, it is important to consider not only your interests, but also whether the film has clear and continuous dialogue with the option to watch with subtitles. This is particularly important for beginners.
There is a wide range of French films to choose from which can make the decision process quite overwhelming. So, we’ve done the hard work for you and selected a variety of 5 films for French learners which are sure to grab your attention!
1. Les Choristes
Les Choristes tells the story of Pierre Morhange (Jacques Perrin), reflecting on his younger years at a boarding school for boys with behavioural difficulties. With strict, old-fashioned policies instilled by overbearing headmaster, Monsieur Rachin (François Berléand), the school is in a state of despair. This soon changes when music teacher Clément Mathieu (Gérard Jugnot) arrives and introduces a school choir. In a bid to change the policies within the school, Clément chooses to encourage the boys rather than reprimand them. This transforms the lives of the boys and leads to the discovery of Morhange’s musical talents.
The outstanding soundtrack accompanying this heartfelt story will be sure to leave you wanting more.
2. Les Intouchables
If you’re looking for a film that will make you both laugh and cry, then look no further than, Les Intouchables. This award-winning comedy drama follows the unlikely friendship between Driss (Omar Sy), a young man recently released from prison, and Philippe (François Cluzet), a wealthy quadriplegic. Despite having no intention or desire to work as Philippe’s personal carer, Driss finds himself undertaking this position, and, to everyone’s surprise, excels at it, despite his unconventional methods.
A beautiful friendship between two men from completely different backgrounds blossoms into an unbreakable bond. Based on an inspiring true story, this film is a must see!
3. Le Chef
Do you love la gastronomie? Well, for all the food lovers out there, Le Chef will transport you to the world of French ‘haute cuisine’. This light-hearted comedy features Jean Reno as Alexandre Lagarde, a famous chef who finds himself in trouble when his status as a Three Star chef comes under threat. In danger of losing his reputation and beloved restaurant, Alexandre calls on the help of self-taught chef Jacky (Michaël Youn) in an attempt to modernise his cuisine. Follow the highs and lows of the duo on their mission to get the restaurant back on track and restore Alexandre’s reputation.
Providing a wide range of food related vocabulary and easy to follow dialogue, this film is perfect for French language learners of all levels.
4. La Famille Bélier
Louane Emera, who appeared as a semi-finalist on ‘The Voice: la plus belle voix’ in France, stars as 16 year old Paula in La Famille Bélier. Acting as an interpreter for her two deaf parents and brother, Paula is the rock in which her family depends on to run the family farm. However, upon discovering her gift for singing, Paula’s music teacher encourages her to pursue a career in music by moving to Paris to attend a prestigious music school. Knowing that her family is heavily dependant on her, Paula is faced with the difficult decision of whether to remain at home, supporting her family, or, to follow her dreams .
Based on communication and the interpretation of language, this film is a winner for language learners. You’ll also be able to brush up your vocabulary and learn more about popular French culture.
For those of you who enjoy a bit of romance, Populaire may be the film for you. Set in the late 1950s, this French romantic comedy-drama tells the story of a man, a woman and a typewriter. It quickly becomes apparent to insurance agent Louis Échard (Romain Duris) that his new secretary Rose (Déborah François) can type with extraordinary speed. Keen to showcase her talent, Louis makes it his mission to help her win the title of ‘World’s Fastest Typist’ at a competition in New York. As the pair train together for the speed-typing contest, romance blossoms.
The lighthearted and entertaining nature of this film will undoubtedly lift your spirits and put a smile on your face!
À vous la parole !
There you have five of our favourite French films for language learners! Do you have a favourite French film that you would like to recommend to your fellow French learners? If so, please leave a comment below.
Want to watch even more foreign-language films? Click here to see our film recommendations for German, Italian and Spanish learners too!