There are plenty of 2021 films coming out soon, but until they do, we're stuck at home, waiting for the next big release. While you could view some of the best films on Netflix or the best films on Amazon Prime right now, I think it's normal to step outside of your movie comfort zone and take a look at international films to see what the world has to offer. That’s why today you’ll get to find out how to watch some of the best Mexican movies, like Roma or Coco, out there right now that you can stream, many from prominent Mexican directors like Guillermo del Toro or Alfonso Cuarón.
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) - Guillermo del Toro
In this classic dark fantasy film, Pan’s Labyrinth takes place in the summer of 1944, during the early Francoist period. The narrative intertwines with the real world, but is mixed in with a mythical one centered on an overgrown labyrinth and a mysterious creatures, with whom the main character interacts.
I feel like there’s really not a lot I can say with this film without giving too much away. Guillermo del Toro had already begun to make a name for himself with previous releases, but he really exploded onto the movie scene once this film came out. The monsters itself are extremely creative, with some of the best makeup I’ve witnessed in cinema. The story is so much fun and filled with plenty of fantasy moments mixed in with in with phenomenal cinematography - it’s really a treasure of a film that everyone should watch.
Biutiful (2010) - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
If you were looking for a psychological drama film, check out Biutiful, a play on the phonetic spelling of beautiful in Spanish. In this film, we follow the journey of a man who is diagnosed with cancer, and given less than a couple of months to live, while he is caught in a world of drugs, trafficking, and so much more.
Already from the premise it feels like this film talks about so much all at once. And truth be told, it does, and it does so beautifully. It’s an exploration into what it means to live your last days fruitfully, but how when you’re trying to get better at the same time, that can lead to some truly strange and chaotic visions and feelings if you’re on certain drugs, which Javier Bardem’s character is on. His performance in Biutiful earned Javier Bardem an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.
Like Water For Chocolate (1992) - Alfonso Arau
In this romantic drama, Like Water for Chocolate tells the story of a woman named Tita, who lives in the early 1900s, experiencing her struggles with love, her family, and the family tradition.
Ya’ll, when I tell you that you have no idea what the heck is going to happen in this film, I mean it. The director, Alfonso Arau, really knocked it out of the park. While it feels like a standard romantic drama at first, there are so many moments that will make you bring a hand to your mouth in shock because you had no idea something was going to happen. It pulls at your heart and crushes it in the fist of its hand. It’s such a great film, and one you should see if romantic dramas are your favorite film to view.
Roma (2018) - Alfonso Cuarón
In this Academy Award-winning film directed by Alfonso Cuaron, Roma is set in 1970-71, following the lives of a live-in housekeeper of a middle-class family, in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City.
Roma really doesn’t play around. This is probably one of the most dramatic films on here and you’ll know it straight out the gate, with its heavy themes that relate to family. Not only that, but the Roma cast is full of talent, with specific focus in on Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira, whom are both fantastic in the film. Roma became the first Mexican film to ever win the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and was also nominated for Best Picture. Seriously, you should watch it if you haven’t already.
If you want to check out another awesome film by Alfonso Cuaron, be sure to watch Y Tu Mama Tambien, a Mexican road film. It’s not quite as dramatic as Roma, but tells a beautiful coming of age story.
Desierto (2015) - Jonas Cuarón
If you wanted a good thriller, then check out Desierto. In this film, a group of Mexican migrants who are attempting to cross the U.S. border illegally are attacked in the desert by a lone gunman.
Directed by the son of Alfonso Cuaron, Jonas Cuaron spares no punches in this thriller film. From beginning to end, you are on the edge of your seat to find out who exactly is hunting down all of these migrants, and wanting their lives to end. Mexican star Gael Garcia Bernal and Jeffrey Dean Morgan lead in this film with great performances, and carry you all the way until the brutal end.
Amores Perros (2000) - Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu
Ah, love is a bitch, ain’t it?
Well, at least to Alejandro Gonzalez Innarito, it is, because that’s what the title Amores Perros translates to. In this psychological drama film, Amores Perros follows three distinct stories, all of which are connected by a car accident in Mexico City. One centers on a teenager in the slums, another on a model who hurts her leg, and the other with a mysterious hitman, with dogs appearing in all three.
I sort of think of this film as the predecessor to films like Crash, where there are several different storylines but all of them have something to do with one big event. And honestly, it’s such a great example of that. Each of the stories in of themselves are compelling and have characters that you are interested about, but the real draw is that you get to see everything come together beautifully to tie into the same event.
Cronos (1993) - Guillermo del Toro
Clocking it back to one of Guillermo del Toro’s first films, Cronos is an independent horror drama film written by the director himself, and tells the tale of a mysterious device that was designed to provide its owner with eternal life, that suddenly resurfaces after four hundred years, creating issues in its wake.
Cronos is such a great horror film that I wish that more people had seen. To me, it’s one of the best horror films out there for its simplicity. There isn’t a huge budget, and it’s not that gory, but what Cronos does better than a lot of horror films out there is that it balances the very delicate line between horror and drama so well. You never get too much of either during the film, creating a wonderfully directed and written story that’s truly full of amazing lore and scary moments. 10/10, would watch again.
Coco (2018) - Lee Unkrich
In this original Disney Pixar film, Coco tells the story of a young boy who lives and loves to play music, but music has been banned in the family for generations due to how it tore the family apart decades ago. But when Miguel is suddenly thrown into the land of the dead when he steals Hector de la Cruz’ guitar to perform, he has to unite with old family to somehow find his way back to the human world.
I’m not going to lie - Coco is by far one of my favorite Latinx films, and one of my favorite films of all time overall. While it is a Mexican-American film, as it was produced by Pixar, the Mexican culture is displayed wonderfully, from the color scheme to the animation to the music. Plus, don’t even get me started on the story - it’s truly one of Pixar’s best, and shows what the true meaning of family is. If you for some reason haven’t seen Coco yet, be sure to check it out now.
Desperado (1995) - Robert Rodriguez
In this neo-Western action film, Desperado tells the story of El Mariachi, a man who is seeking revenge on a drug lord who killed his lover, stopping at nothing to achieve his goal.
Robert Rodriguez had released a set of films back in the '90s as part of his “Mexican trilogy,” and to me, this is definitely my favorite out of the three. Not only is it a standout performance from Antonio Banderas, but this was one of Salma Hayek’s first major breakout roles, and she rocked it. Besides that, the rest of the cast is killer as well, with actors like Steven Buscemi, Danny Trejo and others showing up - I mean, even the moviemaker Quentin Tarantino has a spot in Desperado. Plus, as a western, there are so many awesome fight scenes, you’ll be wanting to watch them over and over again. It’s so much fun.
Sicario (2015) - Denis Villaneuve
As the last on this list, Sicario follows an FBI agent who was enlisted by a government task force to try and bring down the leader of a powerful and brutal Mexican drug cartel before they harm more people.
Sicario is such a great film. It’s full of tension and brilliant moments of suspense, and the cinematography is stunning, with so many beautiful shots. The Sicario cast is also star-studded as well, with a cast that includes Emily Blunt, Benecio del Toro, and Josh Brolin taking the lead and creating a satisfying thriller film.
With so many options, it’s almost hard to pick just one to stream - why not just stream them all? Regardless of what you choose, you’ll enjoy any pick, whether it’s animated, fantasy, horror, or anything else. Happy streaming!
Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!
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