Non-English Shows & Movies I Absolutely Adore

It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of TV shows and movies. I adore watching them. It’s true though, that the vast majority of shows and movies I watch are in English. Whether they are from the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. It doesn’t matter, they’re in English. But to me, it feels like I’m missing out on so many potential movies and shows I could watch. After all, I can read subtitles, can’t I? So I decided to show you some of my favorite shows and movies, that aren’t in English originally. 

First, let me tell you a few reasons why I adore these shows/movies

  • they actually use teenage actors to play teenagers in high school
  • they seem to be quite realistic (especially when they are a portrayal of students in high school)
  • it’s nice to see different cultures represented too
  • they tend to tackle “taboo” topics more openly
  • they aren’t afraid to add an LGBTQIA+ story line for the main characters
  • I sometimes feel like they aren’t as “censored” or cleaned up -especially with the high school series. A bit like Skins (UK) is, really. 

1. Merlí (Catalan)

merli

Merlí is a series from Spain, more specifically (I think) from Barcelona. So the actors all speak Catalan. No, in case you are wondering, I don’t. I got hooked on this after I saw a YouTube video of two of the characters (Bruno & Pol) and then I started to fall in love with them all. Bruno will always be my favorite though. 

This is a series about high school kids, trying to figure out life, and being taught philosophy by Merlí -an eccentric teacher, and Bruno’s dad. It’s really wonderful. Yes, I do think some of the LGBTQIA+ story line is cliché, but I adored it nonetheless. 

You can watch Bruno & Pol’s story line with subtitles here, but I’ve forgotten where I’ve seen the others (or they were taken down). Sorry! Definitely a show to keep an eye out for though.

2. Skam (Norwegian)

skam

Skam is a Norwegian show (I think the word means shame) I only just discovered. I actually started watching season 3 first. Each season focuses on a different person in the group, so it’s not like you’ll be hugely spoiled if you do. I’ve now watched season one and three, and am officially in love with Isak and Even. 

You can watch it all here, with English subtitles. The show has a big following in Norway, with many fans willing to translate for those abroad. Apparently, they want an English remake of this. I don’t think I’ll be watching that. I find it so charming that they are Norwegian, and I’ve grown attached to these actors now. Not everything needs to be in English. Just add subtitles. We can read.

skam-skam-40114738-749-615

A picture from the Christmas party (which is the last episode of season 3). 

skam-girls

The awesome women of Skam.

I love how they tackle friendship, feminism, religion, sexuality…. It’s all debated in this show is such a refreshing way. I really hope you’ll watch it. 

3. Spitsbroers (Belgian: Dutch)

logo Spitsbroers_groot

Spitsbroers is a Belgian show centered around two brothers (pictured above) who both love football. As in soccer, for some of you. It’s a very big sport in Belgium, one of the most watched actually. So it’s about one of the brothers, Dennis, playing for a first division team for the first time. Racing Genk is indeed a first division team in Belgium, with a lot of fans. And the money, problems, and fame it brings. It’s so good. Honestly. I’m not sure where you can watch it, really. I know that seems sucky of me but I just watched it on TV here. There’s only one season now, but a second one should be released this year or next year? I can’t wait.

Here’s the trailer with English subtitles!

4. The Way He Looks (Brazilian: Portuguese)

the-way-he-looks

I mentioned this movie in my Favorite Movies of 2016 post and video, because I watched it last year. It’s a Brazilian movie about Leo, a teenager who is blind, and Gabriel, a teenage guy who just moved to their neighborhood and school. It’s about finding out who you are, disability, sexuality, etc. It’s just such a gorgeous movie, and I need you all to watch it. I know it’s on Netflix in some countries (like Ireland, because I watched it when I was in Dublin).


So those are some of the non-English (language) movies and shows I’ve seen and adored. There are some other Belgian series I think are really worth watching, but I’m going to investigate whether they have subtitles before telling you about them. Have you seen any of these? Which movies and shows would you recommend? I’m always looking for my next obsession! Currently, it’s Skam.

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24 thoughts on “Non-English Shows & Movies I Absolutely Adore

  1. Oh, I’ve been hearing so many good things about Skam, but I had no idea where I could watch it myself, so thank you so much for linking the episodes! Glad you like this show so much as well. I know what I’ll be watching the next few weeks 😉

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  2. I love this, and you’re so right! It’s easy to watch English entertainment, so I can imagine we miss out on a lot of wonderful stuff from other countries. I don’t watch a lot of non-English shows or movies, but the few I have watched, I’ve enjoyed so I’ll definitely check out your list. I love Rust and Bone – while it’s a heavy story, it’s completely captivating and the acting is wonderful. Thanks to Netflix, I also watched/devoured Rita last year! Someone mentioned Skam on Twitter, so it’s already on my list. Now to track it down, I suppose that’s the only problem with watching translated shows…

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  3. These sound awesome! I’m definitely going to try and find them on Netflix and stuff.
    I usually watch slightly more indie foreign movies, as well as historical dramas. But there’s a good one called Beloved Sisters, which is in German. It’s based off of the story of Schiller and his wife.

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  4. This is really cool! I haven’t really watched non-English shows as an American I definitely need to broaden my horizons and open up my eyes, great post!

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  5. Thank you for opening up my silly American eyes, I don’t have easy access (that I know of) to shows like these, so it’s great to hear that Hollywood has some competition! I will seek out some of these shows for sure. American shows are very homogenized and I love shows that are raw and honest.

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  6. I mostly watch Chinese and English movies because I was born and I live in Hong Kong. There’s a Chinese movie called Not One Less (一個都不能少) that talks about the poor children’s lives and how they learn in the rural areas in China. Another all-time favourite movie of mine is Echoes of the Rainbow (歲月神偷). It focuses on the life of a family and the difficulties they faced in Hong Kong in the 1960s. Both of these are really touching. I’m not sure where you can watch these movies but if you can find them and watch them, I hope you will enjoy them and be inspired!

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