Why Don't Americans Watch Foreign-Language Films?

Why Don’t Americans Watch Foreign-Language Films?

I am fortunate enough to live with my mother-in-law.

Maybe not everyone would feel that way but I do especially since she is from another country. Ukraine.

Since it’s winter and cold outside in my state and not always the most amount of things to do in the cold weather, we end up watching a good amount of movies. It has become one of my favorite winter traditions. But the more movies you watch the fewer ideas you have of what to watch next.

This has been our dilemma.

Recently we have been watching movies with seen before and sometimes my mother-in-law I will ask me if I have seen a certain movie which she says is fantastic. The first question I always end up asking her is, is it an American movie.

Because if it’s not I already know I haven’t seen it.

Maybe I am just ignorant. Maybe I just don’t love movies as much as I thought I did but I think it is more of a cultural aspect. Most Americans just don’t watch so many other form films like other countries seem to.

But what I am curious about is, why is this so and would it be beneficial not only for adults to watch foreign movies but kids as well?

Why the Disinterest?

The U.S. box office for the top five foreign-language films has declined by 61% in the last seven years.

But why is this?

I remember this episode of friends where Joey has to go watch a movie with one of the other friends, Ross probably. He was happy and excited to watch the movie until it started.

Once the words started scrolling on the bottom of the screen. It was a foreign film. He was, of course, hilarious and the sea and we all had a good laugh about it. But for many, this may be the problem that is truly wrong with watching foreign films.

Because people don’t want to go to a movie to read, at least that is one argument. Personally I don’t mind reading the translations, and actually, think it is a really neat idea to always have closed captioning for all, but I admit I can be a fast reader.

And not everyone is.

And then there is dubbing. When I think of movies that are dub from another language and English I think Chinese films that are quite cheesy perhaps in their mouth’s move at that separate time than the words they speak. Even just thinking of this makes me not want to watch a movie like that, though many love that niche.

But since I lived in Ukraine for four years I watched many Americans movies that were dumped into Ukrainian. I was surprised. As long as the actors are good and the movie has a nice translation you don’t have that separation from lips moving and speaking. You can’t hear they American voice then underneath it as well. And it’s actually quite enjoyable.

Who knew?

But these two reasons are why Americans don’t like to watch foreign films.


Foreign-Language Films and Children

Because my son was born in Ukraine we were able to bring back with us some DVDs. Some cartoons in hopes that he would learn the Ukrainian language. And it really has helped. But it has done more than help with this speaking skills, it has shown him culture as well.

Have you seen the cartoon called Masha on Netflix?

It’s about a little girl who lives with a bear. Is cute and my kids love it but the thing that makes me most interested in it, kind of fun for me to sit and watch with the kids is that the first time I saw it was in Ukraine, in the Ukrainian language.

It is a foreign-language cartoon.

And the kids love it. And I love how I can see bits and pieces of the Ukrainian cultural mixed into the cartoon story. The way she sometimes wears a handkerchief around her face, the certain phrases that are used only by Ukrainians but somehow work for Americans as well, and the types of foods that she may cook or eat was Bear. All these little things added and end up showing the way Ukrainians thank, eat, and the stories they tell. In other words, culture.

Watching foreign-language films can help kids learn about other cultures in fun and natural way, just as they would learn ABC’s from Wallykazam.

[bctt tweet=”Watching foreign-language films can help kids learn about other cultures in fun and natural way, just as they would learn ABC’s from Wallykazam. ” username=”contactrwc”]

And they don’t seem to mind the translation at all.

But here’s the thing, if adults and watched more foreign films well, we too could learn about other cultures. A way to experience culture without ever having to leave your home or city.

But It’s Not Your Fault

“Foreign films simply don’t play with American audiences.” —Foreign Policy

Why would we watch a film we know nothing about when we have so many amazing movies and trailers that already fill our commercials and lives.

Who’s your favorite actor or actress?

Do you sometimes go watch a movie just because they’re in it? I know why sometimes too. And most the time for foreign films we don’t know the cast. Another downfall for foreign films. Many people watch movies that have a feeling of familiarity. You naturally want to watch a movie we know something about.

We don’t get enough of the marketing to make us that interested. This combined with the other problems mixes not watch them even though we know we probably should.

So what can we do?

It starts with us. And we can start with our children we can start with their children. Not only are foreign beneficial for children but we as parents as we watch and make sure that they are safe for children might start enjoying them, too.


[bctt tweet=”Not only are foreign beneficial for children but we as parents as we watch and make sure that they are safe for children might start enjoying them, too.” username=”contactrwc”]

That’s one of the tricks of movies. It’s like a spiral. You watch the movie and the trailers that can become before it and you get excited for the next movie and on and on.

So go ahead take the timeout. Relax and enjoy some time spent with your kids learning about cultural an a fun and easy way.

And Watch a foreign-language movie. 

Broaden Your Parenting Horizons

Sanju - a Cautionary Tale for Different Stages of Life

Sanju – a Cautionary Tale for Different Stages of Life

It takes bravery to be open with a stranger. And when you put your story out there for everyone to see your colossal mistakes in all their glory, that is certainly as act of courage.

Yes, Sanju the movie is a self serving project. To accept every mistake Sanjay Dutt has ever made publicly globally, and to state once and for all, on the record that he is not a terrorist.

And after the media circus/court rooms that we see time and again, specially these days at every tragic turn, this is totally an amazing stand to take. To tell people not everything they “see” is to be believed. That often things are not what they are portrayed.

After I saw the movie, my brain was reeling from the many gems of life this story had to say. Tears in my eyes, pain in my heart, I wondered if ever I would be in the same position at the parents? I was astounded at the life of this super star, so painful and so much courage by those who support him. It’s easy to give up on someone. But to stand up with someone who constantly “chooses” to do the wrong thing is beyond commendable.

You see Sanjay Dutt as the person he has been, and is. A broken, fearful, hopeless, insecure, horrible person who constantly took the easy way out. And then suffered colossally each and every time. 

This is not a review of the movie because every story with a message is worth listening to, no matter how it is made or created. Love it or hate it, you are certainly going to think about it. Talk about it.

I have always believed in the power of story telling. And Sanju, the movie tells a powerful story. This movie is an amazing example of the pitfalls that you could fall into, as a parent, teen and as a human being. No one can.

For Teens

Children get angry. Constantly. As parents, we rub them the wrong way. Kids feel every emotion, purely, strongly.

But what this movie tells us is to make sure our children know that

  1. One cannot escape from one’s problems. They are going to have to be dealt with.Be angry, but your anger needs a HEALTHY channel. If you are having issues you are going to have to resolve it. Escapism can feel like an easy way out but it certainly isn’t. Your problems will keep rearing their ugly head.
  2. Many people may SEEM like they are your friends, but if you look closely enough they aren’t. Be open to exploring their intentions before accepting their actions.
  3. It’s important to depend on someone completely for support. Appreciating that person is most important. Do everything to keep the person who shows you the right way in your life.
  4. Don’t ever fear doing the right thing, no matter what the consequences.
  5. Of course, drugs and alcohol are not the solution to ANYTHING!

For Parents

  1. You are going to want to support your child at every turn. But at some time you are going to have to let go.
  2. Your expectations are not the sum total of what your child is. Let them be themselves in their way.
  3. Human beings are an insecure lot. Appreciate your child for all the good they do as much as you scold them for their wrong doings. Build them up cautiously.
  4. At some point, you have to stop being a parent, and become an friend who shares.
  5. Let your child see your vulnerability in raising them. Your sacrifices should not go unnoticed for they are a big part of your child’s future.
  6. After a certain age, be open about your mistakes to your child so they can learn from them.

For Every Human Being 

  1. Stand up for what you believe in.
  2. Never spread malicious gossip about another. You do not know the suffering they have undergone.
  3. Judging another is easy from your personal pedestal. To empathize you would have to know their whole story and that is impossible till you know a person completely.
  4. Be a friend to someone in need. No matter how inconvenient it might be. You may be their only hope.
  5. Laughter can make even the worst experiences a cherish-able moment. Never forget your sense of humor.

So, if you are a parent of a teen, talk to them after seeing the movie. You might not be comfortable watching it with them if you are conservative (pole dancing girls and lot of talk about sex and drugs) but make sure to bring home the many lessons the movie has to offer. I promise, this is one movie worth watching, even if separately and talking about.

Take advantage of the life of a person who accepts his lows as his own mistakes.


What other movies do you think make the list? See our recommendations here. 

Aditi wardhan SinghAditi Wardhan Singh, founder and chief editor of Raising World Children online magazine is a mom of two adorable kids, living it up in Richmond Virginia in USA. Raised in Kuwait, being Indian by birth she has often felt out of place which led her to specialize in writing about cultural sensitivity when parenting. She writes for a number of large publications, including Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Richmond Moms Blog, Richmond Family Magazine, Desh Videsh. She has also been featured as a parenting expert on NBC. A computer engineer by profession, she turned entrepreneur by founding Raising World Children online magazine. At RWC, she is bringing voices from around the world together to talk about the synergy of today’s cultures with world heritage. Impromptu dance parties with her little one are her ultimate picker upper. . She has also contributed to the best selling anthology “When You Are Done Expecting” and is coming out with her new book “Strong Roots Have No Fear. ”



5 Meaningful Hindi Movies to Watch This Summer

5 Meaningful Hindi Movies to Watch This Summer

How do you entertain yourself? Do you read books? You might be a lover of music or a photographer. There are scores of things that people indulge in to unwind , but one form of entertainment that majority of the world would agree on, The Movies.

Cinema revolutionised the way we entertain ourselves, being available in most of the known languages on this planet.

I’m a huge fan of English language films, to the extent where i can watch some of the movies on a loop. All the same we Indians love our cinema to the point of quitting all reason and immersing ourselves in the insanely colorful world of Hindi cinema.

The Indian film industry boasts of cinema in many regional languages. Hindi film industry, popularly known as bollywood, is on of the largest centres of film production in the world.

You can imagine the number of movies it churns out annually.

These are statistics, but anyone who is even slightly familiar with Indian films will agree how we have a flair for the dramatic.

We have a song for even the unlikeliest of situations and it doesn’t take much for us to dance.

We clap on all the adrenaline highs, go overboard, root for our actors even in the most illogical scenarios. Most of the time we like to keep things simple but a little complication is what keeps things spiced up.

Despite all the drama our films also have the knack to acknowledge the truth, say it unencumbered, however unpleasant it might be. We have taken on social stigmas and ventured into the uncomfortable to confront our own social thread.

Many say cinema is a reflection of it’s times and the society. Over the years our movies have changed, some have become those instruments of change in the mindset of people.

There is a treasure trove from the world of old hindi cinema, but it might take an in-depth understanding of the Indian culture, without which most of the meaning and essence will be lost.

Though Indian cinema has many note worthy movies in regional languages, but me being a hindi speaker cannot do justice to films from all languages.

So to share with you all the joy of Hindi films on this multicultural platform, I have compiled a short list of 5 Hindi films, from the recent times.

Some of these are underrated, some very popular, but all of these 5 films speak of some thing meaningful albeit in a slight dramatic way.


Dated: 2016
The name of the movie means “Zero divided by zero”. Despite the odd name this films talks about a very important topic- Education.

Set in the capital city, it tells you the story of a single parent ,Chanda, who struggles to give her teenage daughter, Apu, a better life. Coming from a lower middle class background she understands that the key to a better life for her daughter is through education.

Working at four menial jobs, including that of a domestic help to a lady doctor, she only dreams for her daughter. Struggling with Apu’s indifferent attitude for studies, she tries to find her some help.

Things take a dramatic turn when the daughter declares, she hopes to be nothing more than a household help.
Herself being a high school dropout, she takes the extreme step of enrolling in Apu’s class. Making an effort to finish her own studies and to impress on her the significance of education.

Despite it all being an uphill task, she overcomes her predicament and teaches her daughter the value of dreams.
A heart warming drama that speaks volumes in a subtle manner.
This movie tells you about ever persons right to dream and change their lives.



This film is a biographical sports film about the Indian female boxer, Mary Kom. The movie introduces you to a simple girl from the north-eastern state of Manipur. A girl who chances upon a pair of boxing gloves and dreams of becoming a boxer.

The narration takes us through the struggles of an aspiring female athlete in a male dominated sport. The world knows Mary Kom as the bronze medal winner at the 2012 Olympics, the trials and turbulences that she had to overcome are brought forth in the movie.

Finding love, success and achieving her dreams, her life comes a full circle after she gives birth to her twin sons and again sets to make a comeback.

The movie portrays her grit as an athlete and strength as a mother beautifully, when she competed in the AIBA Women’s world boxing championship in 2008,with one of her twins in surgery and coming out a winner.

For anyone who doubts a women’s strength, Mary Kom will say it all.



An adaptation from the Ruskin Bond book , of the same name, I have included this one for it’s simplistic beautiful story.

This story is for the kids and adults alike.

Set in a small village in the hills of northern India, it is the tale of a little girl named Biniya. The girl happens to come about a Japanese umbrella and the plot unfolds from there.

It is a simple narration that tells you about greed, simplicity, forgiveness and acceptance. Even when the simplest of people can resort to immoral acts, a little girl teaches us that love and forgivness is what makes the world go round.



Before all you hindi speaking people question this choice hear me out.

Though it is one typical overboard, overdramatic hindi film but with very relevant and important social messages. This movie manages to raise a few topics that we as a nation need to deal with, like now.

Based on a real life incident where three men find their pictures, printed without consent, on a poster for a vasectomy campaign. Hence ensues a cycle of humiliation and denial of justice for these three men.

While the story talks about corruption at the heart of the system, it also deals with the significant issue of the girl child in India. The movie tackles the stigma attached to vasectomy for men, when population control is one the most pressing global issues.



The name means, Colour it Saffron or can be literally translated to “Paint the colours of spring”.

I saved this as the last on the list because there is so much i can say about this one. It is my personal view, this movie changed our perception of hindi cinema.

It brought about a revolution in the mindset of the youth.

The story revolves around a young British journalist who wants to make a documentary about Indian freedom fighters, based on handwritten accounts of her grandfather’s diary, who was a jailer in colonial India.

On travelling to India she comes across the “New India”. A generation diconnected with it’s past and unconcerned about the future. It takes a close hand to hand with corruption and a British journalist for these youngsters to realise they are equally responsible for their nation’s future.

This movie beautifully binds the past and present all the while questioning our choices for the future. After a long time we as a country re-learned to demand justice,stand up for it and take action.We acknowledged there is corruption rampant but now the onus lies with us to rectify the situation.

Cinema is an escape into the virtual, but what is being said through this medium reaches millions. People sit up and take notice, all the while getting entertained.

So, folks theses are a few Hindi movies to start with .Do let me know what you think of these.

5 Meaningful Hindi Movies to Watch This Summer

  Shalini is an Indian,currently living in Dubai. She is mother of two school going children and is a stay at home mom. She is an avid reader and has recently forayed into the world of writing. Apart from being a contributing writer to the book “ When you’re done expecting”, she hosts her own website tyagishalinid.com.