How many times have you gone to Netflix wanting to watch something but got completely overwhelmed by the options? Well, that’s why we’re here. We scoured Netflix and watched all the crap movies so you don’t have to. Since Mexican Independence Day is upon us, this is a special list of our favorite Mexi-movies. Just in case you do too much partying the night before and wake up hungover on the 16th having lost your voice — from too much gritando, obvio — then here’s a list of Mexican movies you can stream while lying on the couch. Grab yourself some taquitos, a cerveza, and relax.
UPDATE 8/21/2017: This list was updated with new films and reflects what is currently streaming on Netflix.
Sabrás qué hacer conmigo
Charming photographer Nicolás and confident student Isabel’s eyes meet across a hospital corridor and a passionate love affair ensues. As self-assured as each of them initially appears to be, both have their own demons to fight. Nicolás is irritated by Isabel’s reticence, and Isabel, in turn, has to deal with his illness. The imaginatively structured melodrama highlights the process of getting to know someone as you fall in love.
Elvira, te daría mi vida pero la estoy usando
Elvira’s husband went to buy a pack of cigarettes – and never came back. The 40-year-old mother of two young children frantically hunts for clues. Erratically taking things into her own hands, Elvira turns into an amateur sleuth on a relentless and hysterical quest to discover what happened. As Elvira begins to unravel secrets about the husband she thought she knew, her own repressed identity begins to unravel before her. With a charming vivacity, resplendent cinematography and a talented cast with impeccable comedic timing, Cecilia Suarez shines in this delightfully rare, physical and emotional comedy.
This is the story of adolescent Ulises, whose sincere love for his girlfriend Sofía is complicated when his father forces him to join the family business. As Ulises reluctantly enters the sordid world of human trafficking and forced prostitution alongside his older brother, he is compelled to exploit his deep bond with Sofía in order to make her his first victim. Director David Pablos brings an unmistakably personal vision to his material along with years of extensive research that imbues the film with a level of chilling verisimilitude. This is only enhanced by the film’s naturalistically-lit, almost documentary-like aesthetic.
Bellas de Noche
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.
Filmed in a densely textured black-and-white in Mexico’s mountains, El violín follows the story of a group of Mexican rebels. The otherwise quiet villagers grew tired of the government’s abuse and tyranny and begin to secretly plot a rebellion and amass the means by which to do it. Don Plutarco is the very elderly musician who plays the violin for centavos along with his son earning a meager extra bit of money while they also exchange secrets about the uprising. When their village is captured by the army while they are away the duo plots for ways to regain their arms and ammo still hidden in the village. Only Don Plutarco, with his violin, finds a way to charm the Colonel into letting him back and despite his age and infirmity Plutarco does what he can to help the cause. With its black-and-white style that shows the dense countryside can hold many secrets and truths and with a smartly crafted sound design that lets music and silence speak volumes El violín definitely deserves to be heard and seen.
Considered by many at México’s version of superstar Madonna, pop-rock singer and songwriter Gloria Trevi’s life becomes a feature film with actress Sofía Espinosa taking on the part of the “Supreme diva of Mexican Pop.” The film promises to cover everything from how she rose to stardom from a poverty-stricken childhood all the way to a sex scandal that rocked the Spanish-speaking world in 1999. Whether this narrative makes Espinosa a household name like Selena did for Jennifer Lopez in 1997 remains to be seen, but all eyes are on her and what she can do with the iconic title role and how well she can capture Trevi’s style on stage.
Días de gracia
Set in Mexico City’s crime-ridden underbelly, a young policeman new to the force attempts to carry out his duties with integrity but runs up against a culture of corruption, fear, and ambivalence. Against the backdrop of three World Cups (2002, 2006, and 2010) his life will become intertwined with both the criminals and their victims in ways he never imagined.
Brothers Tomás (Sebastián Aguirre) and Fede aka Sombra (Tenoch Huerta) are desperately seeking famed singer Epigmenio Cruz in this road movie/coming-of-age tale hybrid. The 1999 UNAM strike provides historical context and some drama, but this is mostly a story of a “lost generation”: Sombra and his friends consider joining the protests for lack of anything else to do, and Tomás clings to a cassette tape and his past. When they hit the road to track down the aforementioned music legend, hilarity and edification ensue. A seminal work of twenty-first century Mexican cinema, Alonso Ruizpalacios’ debut feature bristles with an electricity of the very youth it’s portraying, managing to create a colorful portrait even as its cinematography is in black and white.
La dictadura perfecta
This political satire, starring Damián Alcázar, was the Mexico’s highest grossing local film in 2014. The story begins when Mexico’s President commits an embarrassing gaffe while welcoming the U.S. ambassador. In an effort to divert public attention and help their longtime friend and ally from falling into yet another image crisis, one of the most powerful local TV networks releases a video that scandalously ties Governor Carmelo Vargas (Alcázar) to crime and illicit business. Afraid for his political future, “Gover Vargas” negotiates a secret million-dollar deal with the network.
When happy couple Carmen (Daniela Rincón) and Alfredo (Andrés Almeida) decide to move to Mexico City and leave their quaint suburban lives behind so Alfredo can start a new job, they get more than they bargain for. The change in location puts a burden on both of them as they try to get settled in. But when Carmen starts feeling bad about her weight and Alfredo begins to stray from their relationship, can the couple survive in their new environment or will life in the big city destroy the happiness they once shared?
Rezeta is a 21-year-old model born in Albania who arrives in Mexico after making a living all around the globe just by using her beauty. While on a photo shoot, she meets Alex, a tattooed musician who’s in charge of cleaning her traile. They quickly become friends, and then their relationship becomes something more. This is the story of their complicated romance, set against a backdrop of bands, parties, and everyday life in modern Mexico.
This sexually-charged drama directed by Ariel Award-winning, Australian-born filmmaker Michael Rowe tells the story of Laura (Monica del Carmen), a 25-year-old journalist living in México City who, after a series of shallow sexual encounters, enters into a relationship with a sadist named Arturo (Gustavo Sánchez Parra). Together, they find their own personal way to cope with their loneliness. Don’t get this film confused with the embarrassingly inept 2010 rom-com of the same name starring Amy Adams and Matthew Goode.
Tackling the ever timely issue of immigration, the younger Cuarón’s Desierto takes that one crossing-the-border plot line from Babel, adds in a ruthless minuteman (Watchmen‘s Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and for good measure, gives us Gael García Bernal in full-on survival mode. When a group of Mexicans try to cross over into the United States, they are forced to face a rifle-toting vigilante who’s intent on putting a bullet in them before they get any further along the border.
Eisenstein in Guanajuato
Sergei Eisenstein was a Soviet filmmaker who revolutionized silent (and propaganda) films with 1925’s Battleship Potemkin, and whose brief stay in Mexico is the inspiration for Peter Greenaway’s biopic. It’s a sexy and hilarious tribute to the legendary director, who fell in love with Mexico — and a few handsome Mexicans in particular — while attempting to film a movie. Greenaway mixes palettes, taking Eisenstein from quiet, black-and-white moments to color-soaked epiphanies. Eisenstein’s boundless lust ultimately proved to be his movie’s undoing, but here he (mostly) just has a great time. Eisenstein in Guanajuato screened in the main competition at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival.
Y tu mamá también
Sounding for all the world like a teen rom com meets road movie, bromance at the beach, or other take-out/toss-out formulaic genre film, Y tu mamá también manages to be all of those things while being limited by none of them. Tenoch and Julio (played by then up-and-coming heartthrobs Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna) are on the loose for the summer while their girlfriends are away, when they meet a gorgeous Spanish older woman. Though only 10 years older than the lads, she might as well be light years away with the worldly understanding that sets her apart from the guys. Does “worldly understanding” suggest in its cheesy wording sex? Well yeah, but the sex here is far more real, playful, and complicated in the best possible ways than in your average film of this ilk. Combining coming of age with a realization of the complexities and inequities of their country, Cuarón captures the dualities of Mexico in a gorgeous road movie that showcases a restless new generation of millennials ready to take it all on.