Film

Netflixeando: 25 Latino & Latin American Movies You Should Stream on Netflix This Thanksgiving

Lead Photo: Photo courtesy of Netflix
Photo courtesy of Netflix
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Ah, Thanksgiving. A truly North American (read: U.S.) holiday that asks us to stuff a turkey and then ourselves silly with as many sides as you can balance on one plate. And while these family dinners may come with requisite disagreements (about the current state of the country, the validity of this holiday, the latest impeachment news) nothing beats having an excuse to spend time with your extended family. But knowing you can’t spend the entire day eating and chatting, we’ve cooked up a list of Latino and Latin American films to tide you over once you finish your delicious meal.

Whether you want to catch a music documentary about Residente, an animated flick that’ll make you weep, a Eugenio Derbez comedy that’ll make you LOL or an info-doc on the current state of Brazilian politics, you can’t go wrong with our Latino and Latin American picks for your post-pavo streaming needs. And we included ratings so there’s no awkward moments with the family.

1

Coco

Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina

Rated PG.

Miguel has always wanted to pursue his passion for music. But his family, especially his abuelita, is against it. Music has been banned in their household for generations. But during this year’s Día de Muertos, he decides to go ahead and join a talent show. Yet when he steals an old guitar from Ernesto de la Cruz, a legendary singer who may well be his ancestor, he crosses over into the Land of the Dead, where he’ll have to earn his family’s blessing before traveling back. Pixar’s colorful celebration of the Day of the Dead quickly becomes a rollicking adventure through a world filled with skeletal ancestors, brightly tinged alebrijes and a trusty trickster by the name of Hector (Gael García Bernal).

Read Remezcla’s review.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
United States
Family, Animation
Adrian Molina, Matthew Aldrich
Darla K. Anderson
2017
105

2

Bellas de Noche

María José Cuevas

Rated TV-MA. For mature audiences. May not be suitable for children 17 and under.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Mexico’s burlesque culture was at its disco-era heyday. The clubs were filled with beautiful women who razzled and dazzled. Decades later, Beauties of the Night introduces us to five of those former showgirls who recount their lives in the spotlight and give us a glimpse of what they’re up to nowadays. Shot over eight years, María José Cuevas’s documentary is a thrilling look at these exotic dancers who continue to search for the love and adoration they got on stage all those years ago.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
Mexico
Documentary
María José Cuevas
María José Cuevas, Moisés Cosío, Gerardo Gatica, Christian Valdelièvre
2016
91

3

Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives

Bobbito García

Rated TV-MA. For mature audiences. May not be suitable for children 17 and under.

In the 1990s, Robert “Bobbito” García and Adrian “Stretch” Bartos emerged as two of the most influential hip-hop DJs in American radio with their quirky, offbeat nightly radio hour, The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show, on Columbia University’s WKCR. From 1990 to 1998, the two friends gave savvy listeners their first taste of unsigned acts like Nas, Notorious B.I.G., Wu-Tang Clan and Big Pun. Directed by Bobbito himself, Stretch and Bobbito delves into the deep friendship that drove the show, as well as the unlikely cult following they developed along the way.

Synopsis By: Andrew S. Vargas
United States
Documentary
Bobbito García
Omar Acosta
2015
90

4

Residente

Rene Perez Joglar

Rated TV-MA. For mature audiences. May not be suitable for children 17 and under.

Intrigued by a DNA test Residente takes that reveals to him information about his ancestry, the 24-time Grammy Award-winning Puerto Rican rapper, founder of the alternative rap group Calle 13 and recipient of the Nobel Peace Summit Award, takes a trip around the world to learn about his family history and to record his new album. Directed by Residente – aka Rene Perez Joglar – himself, the doc tells his own story about how he started as a struggling art student to become a member of one of Latin America’s most influential rap groups as well as a social justice and a political activist.

Synopsis By: Kiko Martinez
Armenia, Burkina Faso, Georgia, Mongolia, Niger, China, Russia, United States
Documentary
Marc de Beaufort
2017
90

5

Mr. Pig

Diego Luna

Rated TV-MA. For mature audiences. May not be suitable for children 17 and under.

Eubanks (Danny Glover), an old-school pig farmer from Georgia on the brink of losing his family farm, sets off on a road trip with Howard, his beloved and very large pig. As they make their way across the border to Mexico to find “Howie” a new home, Eubanks’ drinking and deteriorating health begin to take a toll, derailing their plans. His estranged daughter, Eunice (Maya Rudolph), is forced to join them on their adventure. Driven by strong convictions and stubbornness in his old ways, Eubanks attempts to make peace through his devotion to Howie and desire to mend his broken relationships.

Mexico
Drama
Diego Luna, Augusto Mendoza
Diego Luna, Pablo Cruz
2015
92

6

Strike a Pose

Ester Gould, Reijer Zwaan

Rated TV-MA. For mature audiences. May not be suitable for children 17 and under.

This must-watch doc for Madonna fans features the familiar faces of José Gutierrez and Luis Camacho, the two Latino dancers from New York City who introduced the Queen of Pop to the practice of vogueing and who would later join her in the Blonde Ambition tour. Alongside Kevin, Oliver, Luis, Carlton, Jose, Gabriel and Salim, José and Luis are a diverse, impressionable group of young dancers whose lives were forever changed by Madonna’s iconic blonde ambition tour and its accompanying documentary, Truth or Dare. No longer swept up in the thrill of Madonna’s inarguable power, some found life – away from her influence – emotionally devastating and near impossible to navigate. Strike a Pose movingly revisits the men after years apart and provides us with a chance to learn about the emotional truth behind the glamorous facade.

Belgium, Netherlands
Documentary
2016
83

7

Betting on Zero

Ted Braun

Rated TV-PG. May not be suitable for all children.

Allegations of corporate criminality and Wall Street vendettas swirl throughout this riveting financial docu-thriller. Controversial hedge fund titan Bill Ackman is on a crusade to expose global nutritional giant Herbalife as the largest pyramid scheme in history. He argues the company targets working-class Latino communities with a “business opportunity” that is nothing more than a scheme. Meanwhile, Herbalife execs defend their product as a genuine opportunity and accuse Ackman of being an unadorned market manipulator out to bankrupt them in order to make a killing off his billion-dollar short position against the company. Amidst the heated rhetoric on both sides, who has the moral standing?

United States
Documentary
Devin Adair, Glen Zipper
2016
98

8

Zoom

Pedro Morelli

Rated TV-MA. For mature audiences. May not be suitable for children 17 and under.

Grab a pencil and paper and imagine your ideal man. Start drawing the shape of his face, then fill in the hair, eyes, nose; now move down to the arms and torso. Is he starting to look like Gael García Bernal? That’s the premise of a new film by Brazilian director Pedro Morelli, who is perhaps best known for his previous father-son directorial outing, Entre Nós. In Zoom, the artist in question is a young lady who happens to work at a sex doll factory and moonlights as a comic book artist. When she’s disappointed by a breast augmentation surgery and her boyfriend’s reaction to her new bosom, she starts doodling her way to her ideal man, bestowing him with some exceptionally large loins before erasing and reducing them to a minuscule stump. In the cartoon world that Gael García Bernal’s character inhabits, this sudden and unexplained reduction in his manly vigor sets off a creative crisis just as he is filming his latest feature.

Brazil
2015
96

9

Latin History for Morons

Aram Rappaport

Rated TV-MA. For mature audiences. May not be suitable for children 17 and under.

This hilarious and educational special is a taped performance of John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons. The one-man show from the Colombian comedian began as a small production at California’s Berkeley Repertory Theatre in 2016. It then moved east and opened Off-Broadway at the Public before it went on to have its Tony-nominated run on Broadway. As its title implies, Leguizamo’s latest is all about unearthing the long-storied legacy of Latinos all throughout the continent. Prompted by his son’s school project on historical heroes, Leguizamo launches into a lecture about the many Latino military heroes who have served in the United States army, placing those contributions alongside breakthroughs that we owe to the Aztecs, Mayas and Taínos. The entire show is a reminder that despite what US history textbooks and mainstream media (let alone xenophobic and racist politicians) may tell you, Latinos have long been a central part of the United States.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
United States
Comedy Special
John Leguizamo
2018
90

10

También la lluvia

Icíar Bollaín

TV-14. Parents strongly cautioned. May be unsuitable for children ages 14 and under.

Spain’s entry for the 2011 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Y también la lluvia, centers around the making of a grand historical epic about Christopher Columbus’s first journey to the New World and the subsequent rebellion he faced by an Indigenous group led by Hatuey. Opting to lower his costs, director Sebastián (Gael García Bernal) and his production head to Bolivia, where they’re able to pay extras a measly $2 a day. Once he discovers the young man he’s cast as Hatuey is involved in the protests against the Bolivian government’s decision to privatize the country’s water, Sebastián realizes his film may not survive this 20th-century uprising. Shot with the scope of an epic historical drama, Icíar Bollaín’s film is an urgent reminder of how little has changed in 500 years when it comes to Indigenous populations in the Americas.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
France, Spain, Mexico
Drama
Paul Laverty
Eric Altmayer, Emma Lustres, Juan Gordon, Mónica Lozano
2010
103

11

Almacenados

Jack Zagha Kababie

Rated TV-14. Parents strongly cautioned. May be unsuitable for children ages 14 and under.

Señor Lino (José Carlos Ruiz), a faithful employee about to retire, and Nin (Hoze Meléndez), the young slacker who is to take over share five days on a worksite,  work in an enormous empty warehouse where apparently nothing ever happens. In this absurd comedy-drama, director Jack Zagha Kababie offers an examination of working life by pitting two men who stand at opposite ends of the work ethic spectrum. Feeling more like a two-hander play (think Pinter or Mamet or Becket) but with enough visual panache to entrance, Almacenados traces their five days together during a week in distinct chapters during which both Nin and Señor Lino will get to know one another and perhaps learn a bit about themselves in the process.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
Mexico
Comedy, Drama
David Desola
2015
93

12

When Two Worlds Collide

Heidi Brandenburg, Mathew Orzel

TV-14. Parents strongly cautioned. May be unsuitable for children ages 14 and under.

In this tense and immersive tour de force, audiences are taken directly into the line of fire between powerful, opposing Peruvian leaders who will stop at nothing to keep their respective goals intact. On the one side is President Alan Garcia, who, eager to enter the world stage, begins aggressively extracting oil, minerals and gas from untouched Indigenous Amazonian land. He is quickly met with fierce opposition from Indigenous leader Alberto Pizango, whose impassioned speeches against Garcia’s destructive actions prove a powerful rallying cry to throngs of his supporters. When Garcia continues to ignore their pleas, a tense war of words erupts into deadly violence.

Peru
Documentary
Taira Akbar
2016
100

13

The Edge of Democracy

Petra Costa

Rated TV-MA. For mature audiences. May not be suitable for children 17 and under.

Once a nation crippled by a military dictatorship, Brazil found its democratic footing in 1985 and then, in 2002, elected a hugely popular political disrupter: steel-worker-turned-activist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Under his watch, 20 million Brazilians were lifted out of poverty, and his country rose to international prominence. In 2010, Lula passed the presidential baton to his prodigy, a fierce female guerrilla named Dilma Rousseff. But beneath their sunny legacy, rumblings of populist rage and institutional corruption seeped into the mainstream – much of it abetted by a partisan judge who fed news outlets sensational, deeply flawed corruption reports that targeted Lula, Dilma and anyone else who refused to scratch the backs of powerful politicians and special interest groups. With remarkably intimate access, The Edge of Democracy follows Brazil’s embattled leaders as they grapple with a scandal born out of their country’s fascist past and inflamed by a furious and ideologically divided nation.

Brazil
Documentary
David Barker, Moara Passoni, Carol Pires, Petra Costa
Joanna Natasegara, Shane Boris, Tiago Pavan
2018
113

14

Cristela Alonzo: Lower Classy

Marcus Raboy

Rated TV-MA. For mature audiences. May not be suitable for children 17 and under.

Known best, perhaps, for beloved if short-lived ABC sitcom Cristela, this Texan comedian has long made her stand-up bits ring true for Latinx immigrants in the United States. Diving headfirst into the country’s political climate, Alonzo tackles everything from white girls with cornrows to the cleaning lady fantasy she had as a schoolgirl (a nod to the way Hollywood warped even her New Kids on the Block daydreams). Mixing humor with touching family anecdotes, she shows why she’s one of the most refreshing voices in the business in this Netflix stand-up special shot at San Antonio’s Empire Theater, which hinges on, as its title suggests, everything Lower Classy.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
United States
Comedy Special
Cristela Alonzo
2017
660

15

Pachamama

Juan Antin

Rated PG. Parental guidance suggested. May not be suitable for pre-teenagers.

In Pachamama, the Andes are the perfect setting for this children’s adventure, which evokes the journey-of-the-hero archetype. And every inch of Argentine director Juan Antin’s movie feels personal, ready to conjure a sense of magic that comes only from that region, its culture, its sounds and its colors – rearranged into a powerful visual tale. Antin is ready to use his icons as perfect, heartfelt, bigger than life and powerful toys, while managing to be smart enough to show the Spanish Conquest from another point of view – and still believing, above all, in magic.

France
Animation, Adventure
Juan Antin, Patricia Valeix, Olivier de Bannes, Nathalie Hertzberg
Didier Brunner, Olivier de Bannes, Damien Brunner
2019
72

16

Como agua para chocolate

Alfonso Arau

Rated R. Contains some adult material.

Based on the popular magical realist novel by Laura Esquivel, Como agua para chocolate (Like water for chocolate) is set against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution and its immediate aftermath. Tita is the youngest daughter in a traditional Mexican family and is forbidden from marrying her true love, Pedro, so that she may care for her aging mother. With little choice, Pedro opts to marry Tita’s sister, Rosaura, instead, but over decades of revolution, sickness and family upheaval, their love remains unbroken.

Synopsis By: Andrew S. Vargas
Mexico
Drama
Laura Esquivel
Alfonso Arau
1992
123

17

O menino e o mundo

Alê Abreu

Rated PG. Parental guidance suggested. 

This modern-day fable follows the adventures of a young boy who leaves his small village after the death of his father only to find himself immersed in a chaotic and often confusing modern world filled with strange creatures, fantastic machines and giant, impersonal monuments to human progress. Filled with idiosyncratic plays on perspective and employing a variety of techniques — including collages pasted alongside the thick, waxy lines of Crayola crayons — O menino e o mundo feels like stepping into the imagination of a child set to a joyous samba soundtrack. The film was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the 2016 Academy Awards.

Synopsis By: Andrew S. Vargas
Brazil
Animation
Alê Abreu
Fernanda Carvalho, Tita Tessler
2013
80

18

How to Be a Latin Lover

Ken Marino

Rated PG-13. Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

Two of Mexico’s biggest stars come together in a laugh out loud comedy all about what it means to, as its title suggests, be a “Latin lover.” At the heart of it is Maximo (Eugenio Derbez), whose gigolo days are behind him after he married a wealthy woman more than twice his age. Only, after 25 years of married bliss (and pampered privilege), Maximo finds himself replaced – by a younger though definitely less attractive car salesman. Kicked to the curb, out of shape and with nowhere else to go, he ends up crashing with his estranged sister, Ana (Salma Hayek), and her adorable young son, Hugo (Raphael Alejandro). Never to waste an opportunity, Maximo finds that his nephew may well be the ticket back to wealth when he starts pursuing Hugo’s crush’s grandmother, played by Raquel Welch. Will he succeed or will he merely learn some valuable life lessons along the way?

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
United States
Comedy
Jon Zack, Chris Spain
2017
105

19

To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar

Beeban Kidron

Rated PG-13. Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

This iconic road trip film about three New York City drag queens driving cross-country from New York City to Los Angeles stars Wesley Snipes as Noxeema Jackson, Patrick Swayze as Vida Boheme and John Leguizamo as rookie drag queen Chi-Chi Rodriguez. When the trio hops into their newly bought Cadillac and set off to LA, where they’ll compete at the Miss Drag Queen of America Pageant, little do they know that they’re in for a journey that will have them face the kind of prejudice that only three strong-willed drag queens (who improbably stay in full drag when traveling) are well-equipped to handle when they’re stranded in a small town with their own prized possession: an autographed photo of Julie Newmar signed, well “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar.” Fabulous, funny and with its heart on the right place, this broad comedy is quintessentially ’90s in both its comedy and its LGBTQ representation.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
United States
Comedy
Douglas Carter Beane
G. Mac Brown
1995
109

20

No estoy loca

Nicolás López

Rated TV-MA. For mature audiences. May not be suitable for children 17 and under.

In the vein of director Nicolás López and his star Paz Bascuñan’s hit collaboration Sin filtro, No estoy loca takes an outlandish premise to explore deeper issues about 21st-century life. Bascuñan plays Carola, a woman who seemingly has it all. That is, except a child, something her mother constantly reminds her and tells her to actively pursue. So for her 38th birthday, her mother makes her an appointment with a renowned gynecologist who tells Carola she’s infertile. As if that weren’t enough, that same day she finds out her husband and her best friend have been in a relationship for two years now and are expecting a child together. All of it drives Carola to the brink of a nervous breakdown, so it’s no surprise she finds herself waking up in a psychiatric clinic where she’ll have to come to terms with her life. This poignant dark comedy is all about how close we all are to losing it and how hard it is to righting it all back up.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
Chile
Comedy
Guillermo Amoedo, Nicolás López
Miguel Asensio Llamas
2018
116

21

Someone Great

Jennifer Kaytin Robinson

Rated R. Contains some adult material. 

Aspiring music journalist Jenny (Gina Rodriguez) has just landed her dream job at an iconic magazine and is about to move to San Francisco. Rather than do long distance, her boyfriend of nine years (Lakeith Stanfield) decides to call it quits. To nurse her broken heart, Jenny gathers up her two best friends, Erin (DeWanda Wise) and Blair (Brittany Snow), for one outrageous last adventure in New York City. From writer-director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson (creator of MTV’s Sweet/Vicious), Someone great is a hilarious and heartfelt story of friendship, love and what it means to let go of your 20s and enter adulthood.

United States
Romantic Comedy, Romance, Comedy
Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
Gina Rodriguez, Peter Cron, Paul Feig, Emily Gipson, Jessie Henderson, Anthony Bregman
2019
92

22

Solteras

Luis Javier Henaine

Rated TV-MA. For mature audiences. May not be suitable for children 17 and under.

When Ana (Los Espookys‘ Cassandra Ciangherotti) gets dumped by her fiancé, she spirals. Getting married was always the goal and she finds herself at a loss as to how to get back on track. After a slew of horrifying dates she takes a gamble on a plan so outrageous, it might just work: She enrolls in a class for wannabe-brides that’s designed to help her find a husband. But as she bonds with her fellow classmates (played by Irán Castillo and Sophie Alexander-Katz), Ana soon finds that there may be more to life than finding a groom-to-be in this wildly female-driven comedy about the pressures of conforming in this day and age.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
Mexico
Comedy
Luis Javier Henaine, Alejandra Olvera Avila
Pablo Zimbrón Alva, Luis Javier Henaine
2019
95

23

Soltera codiciada

Bruno Ascenzo, Joanna Lombardi

Rated TV-MA. For mature audiences. May not be suitable for children 17 and under.

Heartbreaks are enough to upend an entire life. When Maria (Gisela Ponce de León) gets ceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend, Matias (Andrés Salas), she feels as if she could die. With a seemingly dead-end job as a copywriter in an ad agency in Lima, Maria soon takes friends’ advice and decides to channel her hurt and resilience into the kind of writing she’s always dreamed of producing. That’s how “Soltera Codiciada,” Maria’s blog, is born. As she writes out her every thought, Maria soon finds her life turning around in this touching comedy about learning to love yourself and finding strength in one’s friends.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
Peru
Comedy
María José Osorio, Mara Pescio
Miguel Valladares
2018
104

24

La hora final

Eduardo Mendoza de Echave

Rated TV-MA. For mature audiences. May not be suitable for children 17 and under.

La hora final is a based-on-a-true-story thriller set during the famed early 1990s Victoria operation when a special intelligence group in Peru set out to capture the leader of the terrorist organization Sendero Luminoso. The Eduardo Mendoza de Echave-directed flick follows police officers Carlos Zambrano (Pietro Sibille) and Gabriela Coronado (Nidia Bermejo), the two men tasked with going undercover and eventually nabbing Abimael Guzmán (Miguel Vargas), during a tumultuous and violent time in Peruvian history. Along the way, their operation will be jeopardized by the infiltration of the CIA, the SIN and even some Sendero Luminoso cells, making their goal ever more dangerous in this gripping actioner.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
Peru
Thriller, Drama
Eduardo Mendoza de Echave
2017
117

25

7:19

Jorge Michel Grau

Rated TV-MA. For mature audiences. May not be suitable for children 17 and under.

It is 7:19 a.m. September 19, 1985 in Mexico City. Martin and Fernando (Héctor Bonilla and Oscar nominee Demián Bichir), like everyone else that morning, were just arriving at their workplace when the most devastating earthquake in the history of Mexico hit and buried them both under the weight of the building that once housed their offices. Based on true stories of survivors of that fateful event, Jorge Michel Grau’s 7:19 captures the gripping and terrifying ways everyday Mexicans had to endure a catastrophe unlike any other. Channeling its claustrophobic setting for maximum effect, and letting its two leads carry the weight of the film on their shoulders, 7:19 is as much a historical chronicle as it is a character portrait of a nation.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
Mexico
Drama
Alberto Chimal, Jorge Michel Grau
Mayra Espinosa Castro
2016
94