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Language Lessons Review | SXSW2021

Clever and emotional, Language Lessons finds a way to make the video-chat-narrative work with a thoughtful, funny, and relatable story that feels natural rather than forced. Never did I feel like I was watching a gimmick but instead like I was watching something private and special.

Language Lessons

Cariño, a teacher living in Costa Rica, is hired to give Adam, a well to-do man in California, a refresher on Spanish, a language he spoke as a child but has since fallen out of practice with it. Over the course of their sessions these two strangers will go through some of the most difficult times of their lives and have no one to turn to but each other for comfort and solace.

I think it’s easy to walk into this filmwith low expectations because of the method through which Natalie Morales & Mark Duplass chose to capture this film. Don’t do that to yourself or to this piece. Does it feel unusual to watch a film that takes place over video chat? Yes. Which is why from the jump this writing duo– with Morales directing– chose to not only draw us in with humor and charm, but also, with an emotional twist that keeps you engaged throughout.

This is a film that deals with friendship, loss, grief, loyalty and Spanish! Morales and Duplass also star and bring such depth to each character as each actor’s range is pushed to extremes on a visual format that bears it all out there. You know how you can’t hide your emotions while on FaceTime with your parents? Yeah… think on that for a few as you contemplate watching this movie.

Great editing and pacing made for a sooth watch from start to finish, capitalizing on all the clever dialogue, strong performances, and palpable chemistry from our two actors. There is so much to like I urge everyone to see it and enjoy it for what it is. It’s a well written, simple, & bold film that pushes the envelope and finally proves a good story can be told using this medium.


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By Raul Navedo

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