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Your Favorite Movies with Languages or Language Barriers as a Theme?


LauraM
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There have been lots of movies over the years that have in some way dealt with languages, language learning and/or language barriers as part of their overall theme. 

What are some of your favorites among these?  I'll share one of mine for starters.

I enjoyed Kevin Costner's "Dances with Wolves"  which is set in the U.S. Civil War era.  As his character -- a soldier in the Union army -- became a part of the Sioux tribe that saved his life he went through the process of learning their language.  I thought it was realistic and had its entertaining moments.

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I don't watch movies too often, but I remember that Love Actually had a really cute subplot about a British writer falling in love with his Portugese (I think? Maybe she was Spanish, but I think she was Portugese) assistant, even though she barely spoke any English and he didn't know Portugese at all.

It wasn't a very serious movie, but it was very cute.

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My favorite is "The Other Side of Heaven" with Anne Hathaway and Christopher Gorham. It's a little-known film about a young Christian missionary who had been sent to Tonga. There he meets the local populace who are suspicious of outsiders and many of whom did not speak English. The missionary had to learn Tongan, with hilarious results.

His first sermon in Tongan was full of grammatical errors and he mixed-up the word for "boat" with the word for "toilet"!

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Lost In Translation deals with these notions very well. Tons of misinterpretation, barriers, missed connections. The overarching theme of "communication" is present in all corners of the script. Beautiful, well done movie.

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I am a sucker for Bollywood movies. I watched a lot of them when I lived in Paris in the 1980s and there was an art house movie theatre that showed 3 Indian films a day for 3 months. Hadn't a clue what most of them were about but that didn't matter. Loved everything with Amitabh Bachchan in it.

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I don't watch movies too often, but I remember that Love Actually had a really cute subplot about a British writer falling in love with his Portugese (I think? Maybe she was Spanish, but I think she was Portugese) assistant, even though she barely spoke any English and he didn't know Portugese at all.

It wasn't a very serious movie, but it was very cute.

You beat me to it, that was my absolute favorite subplot in that movie!

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  • 6 months later...

Mine would be "The Terminal" starring Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Tom's native country of origin is fictional and so is his native language, but it is a very entertaining movie just the same. It's one of Tom Hank's funniest roles in my opinion.

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Well thank you guys for giving me movies to add to my "to watch" list. Among the movies you mentioned, I have only seen "The Terminal". I thought it was a beautiful movie. I've heard about "Lost in Translation" before but forgot to check it out. I definitely will now though. "The Other Side of Heaven" also sounds like a lovely movie.

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  • 1 month later...

English Vinglish is a bollywood movie which tells the story of a woman who tries to learn English. She was always humiliated by her kids due to her inability to understand English. The problems are doubled when she goes to a foreign country. So she tries to learn English by going to a coaching institution without the knowledge of her family members.

This is a feel good movie. The acting of the lead actress is superb. I will recommend it to anyone who wants a taste of bollywood minus the melodrama.

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