What some good & simple girl movies I could show to a female ESL class?
April 25, 2019 7:32 AM   Subscribe

So I used the pretty woman shopping scenes last week to teach tone in my class. Showed it with subtitles and it worked great. So this week I tried My Best Friend's wedding. Not good. Way too complicated for my class which is all middle aged women. So what are some movies that are good but involve direct and simple dialogue and which ladies in their early 40s would like?
posted by rileyray3000 to Education (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Perhaps A League of their Own?
posted by phunniemee at 7:35 AM on April 25 [5 favorites]

It seems like you want to stay away from clever wordplay, zaniness, wackiness, which could all be confusing, and find a film where people say what they mean instead of using the dialogue to hide double meanings. So I’d cross out the “smart”/talky romantic comedies by Nora Ephron, Woody Allen, Nancy Myers, Richard Curtis, etc.

The Bridges of Madison County
Rear Window
Dirty Dancing (the part about the pregnancy can be confusing though)
posted by sallybrown at 7:47 AM on April 25

Steel Magnolias
posted by onebyone at 7:59 AM on April 25 [2 favorites]

The Cutting Edge?
posted by Naberius at 8:27 AM on April 25

What about TV shows? Golden Girls seems perfect for this, especially the scenes where they are at the kitchen table. Friends might work too.
posted by brookeb at 8:28 AM on April 25 [6 favorites]

The Holiday - generally only direct dialogue between two people at any time
posted by koahiatamadl at 9:01 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]

I haven’t seen these in a long time, but maybe some of the 90s/2000s rom coms; 13 Going on 30, Never Been Kissed, maybe Mean Girls?
posted by stellaluna at 9:05 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]

What do you think made My Best Friend's Wedding confusing, exactly? The Golden Girls and Steel Magnolias are very snappy and well-written and filled with colloquialisms, zingers, and sarcasm. They aren't really "simple" in dialogue, not exactly. If Pretty Woman worked well, maybe try something like The Princess Diaries?
posted by cakelite at 9:05 AM on April 25 [2 favorites]

Lovely and Amazing

Thelma and Louise

Price Check
posted by fluttering hellfire at 9:42 AM on April 25

What about some movies that may be familiar to lower comprehension threshold, if the aim is to teach tone and idiomatic expression?
Eg Casablanca, Breakfast at Tiffany's,
posted by 15L06 at 10:06 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]

I had a good experience doing Enchanted with a mixed-age group (20s - 30s). The plot is easy to follow and the main themes don't require complicated English to discuss. Titanic is also good for this, especially because people have often seen it dubbed, but it is long.
posted by betweenthebars at 10:09 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]

Kinda old but a nice slow pace and very enjoyable-

Ruby in Paradise
posted by RichardHenryYarbo at 10:26 AM on April 25

Although they are aimed at a younger crowd, your class might enjoy some of the ‘teen girl’ movies. Thinking of ‘the princess diaries’, ‘breakfast club’, things that are sort of fun in a nostalgic way. Hallmark movies might also fit your bill of being fairly simple to follow, straightforward language and plots that are family friendly.
posted by Northbysomewhatcrazy at 12:10 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]

I haven't tried it myself, but one of my teachers in an ESL teacher training program used When Harry Met Sally. I think she particularly liked the vignettes by the older couples talking about their relationships.
posted by Neely O'Hara at 6:38 PM on April 25

Miss Congeniality. The Princess Bride.
posted by Enid Lareg at 6:59 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]

Your audience might like Younger.

It's a TV show, and the episodes are short (22 minutes to fit into that half-hour slot).

It's about a 40-year-old divorced woman trying to re-enter the workplace by pretending to be a 20-something. There is slang, but it's slang the main character has to learn to keep up with the social-media culture, so it's not too hard to grasp as the terms and concepts are explained to her.

It focuses on the struggles of somebody who society has deemed irrelevant because she was out of the workforce for so long, being a mother to her daughter and a wife to her husband. There is some competition for a man--her female boss is attracted to the owner of the company, who happens to have an interest in the main character--but mostly the women (no matter their ages) are supportive of each other. Along the way, the main character has several relationships with different guys, including one much younger than she is.

It's not a brilliant or realistic show by any means. It's more of a compressed soap with comedic overtones, but it might make for a good starting point for discussion.
posted by sardonyx at 4:28 PM on April 26

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