It is currently National Hispanic Heritage month. People from all over come together to celebrate and learn about diverse cultures, history, and the many contributions of the Hispanic community. These are some of the best movies to watch this month that are filled with plenty of culture.
Miguel lives in Mexico and loves to play music even though the rest of his family strongly disproves of it. Wanting to prove himself, Miguel ends up in the land of the dead where he meets plenty of fun characters and learns the truth about his family history.
This is a truly beautiful animated film that dives deep into the Day of the Dead. The soundtrack and voice performances are also great. I have an amazing relationship with my grandmother and the theme of making sure we respect our ancestors by remembering who they were and what made them unique is so strong that it hit me right in the heart. Make sure to remember the tissues.
This is the 1997 biopic about the life of Tejano music superstar singer Selena Quintanilla. The movie shows her from a young child to her tragic death at only age 23.
This, to me, is still the best performance Jennifer Lopez has given as she is electric as Selena. The movie shows the respect Selena had for her family and the bond she had with her father. It makes you wonder just how big of a star Selena could have been if she was still around today. People loved Selena. This movie shows how much her music brought people of different cultures together.
Real Women Have Curves
18-year-old Ana dreams of going to college but her parents would rather her stay home and take care of the family. Throughout the summer, Ana learns more about herself as she chooses which path to take for her future.
This is a coming-of-age movie with a great performance by America Ferrera in her film debut. The movie deals with immigration, cultural expectations, and the search for an identity. It’s an empowering movie for anyone who ever wanted to just break away and truly go for what they want.
Spy kids is a family film that features siblings Carmen and Juni Cortez, who think that their life is super normal and boring(even though they live in a mansion…on an island.) When their parents are kidnapped, they soon discover they are a family of secret agents and set out to save the day.
Robert Rodriguez directed this film that became a box office smash hit when it was released. 20 years later, to me, the movie still holds up. Everyone looks like they are having such a good time in their roles. Hispanic actors such as Danny Trejo, Cheech Marin, Antonio Banderas, and AlexaPena Vega star in this fun family action flick.
As a Hispanic kid growing up, I didn’t see many films where people who looked like my family and I were represented. I did see a lot of typical stereotypes. It may sound weird that Spy Kids was the movie that made me feel included, but it was. I was watching a Hispanic family fight together as spies. At that moment, I felt that I could be James Bond. The movie is still relatable to anyone though because at the end of the day Carmen and Juni are written like regular kids. They bicker and tease each other like siblings tend to do. It just so happens they are Hispanic.
In the Heights
In the Heights is a musical movie that shows many people struggling with staying faithful to their roots and wanting more out of life.
Lin-Manuel Miranda has written many successful things and he does not disappoint with this movie. Gentrification is happening throughout the neighborhood and losing one’s culture is very much at risk. This movie shows that it is okay to want bigger things but not to forget where you came from and to remember that sometimes the best things are right in front of you. The music and the choreography are amazing and you get a deep sense that Miranda truly appreciates his culture.
La Bamba is a biopic about the life of singer Richie Valens who came from a poor family and found short-lived success due to his tragic death at the age of only 17.
This is a story that just grabs you and entertains you. Lou Diamond Phillips gives a vulnerable performance as Richie and we see the troubles that this young man went through whether it was due to growing up poor or due to racism. Richie Valens’ story is important because he influenced generations of Hispanic artists. He also had the first Latin song to cross over to rock and pop mainstream audiences.
A former musician known as “El Mariachi” returns with a guitar case full of guns to get revenge on the man responsible for the death of his girlfriend.
This movie is simply a damn good time. Antonio Banderas stars as the lead alongside Salma Hayek in this action-packed, super sexy cartoon of a movie and I mean that in the best way possible. Director Robert Rodriguez is on this list again as he brings us this well-written crowd pleasure. We also get more great performances from Danny Trejo and Cheech Marin. The dialogue is also quick and witty. The soundtrack features Hispanic artists such as Los Lobos, Tito and Tarantula, and even Banderas himself.
Have you seen any of these films? Are there any that I may have missed? Let us know in the comments. National Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15th – October 15th.