Movies present a great way to immerse into a foreign culture. These can be an excellent resource for migrants to learn about the new locale. Here is a short selection of movies that can help aspiring migrants planning a move to the UK.
The King’s Speech (2006)
British accent and pronunciation are sometimes difficult for foreigners. UK movies are like little crash courses in the local dialects. Many language tutors have recommended King’s Speech as a good film to learn British English. The movie depicts its protagonist using unorthodox techniques to overcome stuttering. It guides viewers on a journey to find ways to improve pronunciation. According to some, The King’s Speech is practically a British English pronunciation guide.
Notting Hill (1999)
Set in an affluent suburb in West London, the movie is a romantic comedy about an American expat actress and a bookstore owner. Critics well received Notting Hill for its humorous portrayal of the cultural differences between the US and the UK. Migrants moving to the UK can familiarize themselves with some nuances of the British culture from this movie. It also talks a little about the cost of living in London.
Miracle in Soho (1957)
This classic British film is director Julian Amyes’s ode to Soho – an area in London’s West End. The movie is set against the backdrop of a wave of migrations when the Spanish, German, Italian, and Greek communities flourished within the neighborhood. It is a romantic story about a road builder and the daughter of an Italian immigrant. The movie draws subtle inferences from the intermingling of cultures in the area. Miracle in Soho deftly explores the origins of street life in London. The movie failed to impress critics with its grim portrayal. However, several expats recommend watching this movie to understand better street life in London, which is much the same today.
Paddington 2 (2017)
The Paddington movies are based on Michael Bond’s series of books starring the titular migrant bear. The first movie dealt with its protagonist’s first few days in the UK. However, the film failed to explore cultural diversity sufficiently. Paddington 2 fixes that shortcoming. The protagonist sets off on a journey to unmask the identity of a thief. The movie highlights several aspects of multiculturalism in the bustling heart of the UK. Paddington 2 does for the UK what Zootopia did for the US a year before. The movie teaches the importance of tolerance and acceptance of cultures. It is a family movie which adults and children can enjoy equally.
The London Connection (1999)
Prominent New Zealand TV personality Gary McCormick explores the lives of Kiwi expats in London. The documentary features real stories of actual expats and gives an insightful glimpse into the lives of London Kiwis. The film is considered essential-viewing for migrants because of its portrayal of how Kiwis balance their expat lives while being constantly homesick. There is a philosophical disposition to the film on the subject of the meaning of home. Expats in the UK gradually start looking at the country as their ‘home away from home. The London Connection proves to be an inspirational watch for aspiring migrants.
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
This comedy gained much popularity in many parts of the world. It deserves another watch for anyone planning to move or recently moved to the UK. Laced with some deftly executed British humor, the movie explores themes surrounding marriage and other life events. It is smart, funny, and gives a glimpse into everyday British life. Vast communities of migrants live and work in the UK. Expat professionals work hard to send international money transfers as remittances back to their families. Watching witty movies such as this is a welcome change of pace from the busy ex-pat life.
This Is England (2006)
It is a gritty, coming-of-age drama about the indoctrination of a young English boy into a gang of ultranationalists. It is an unflinching look at the problems faced by the British working class during the early 80s. The movie merits watching because of the authentic accents, sharp dialogue, and the generous use of British slang. The social and political vocabulary used throughout the film is still a core part of British culture today. Understanding the correct usage of slang can help migrants integrate much faster into British society.
Hemant G is a contributing writer at Sparkwebs LLC, a Digital and Content Marketing Agency. When he’s not writing, he loves to travel, scuba dive, and watch documentaries.