Language Lessons

Director: Natalie Morales
2021 | USA | 91m
GENRE: Comedy | Drama | Gay | Latinx | Local Interest/Subjects | Queer | Relationships
SECTION: Centerpiece | Closed Captioned | Narrative Features | Streaming


How do two people with only tenuous knowledge about one another become friends over Zoom? This richly touching, character-driven first feature posits one such circumstance. Well-off Oakland resident Adam (co-writer Mark Duplass) is at first put out by his husband’s gift of online Spanish language sessions with cheerful Costa Rican Cariño (co-writer and director Natalie Morales). A shocking event right before their second tutorial, followed by some mysterious bruises on Cariño’s face, lead to conversations that go deeper than the difference between ser and estar.

As the pair stumbles over their words in English and Spanish via the square boxes of their virtual encounters, awkward misunderstandings share space with poignant disclosures. Debuting filmmaker Morales—a Funny or Die contributor as well as a semi-regular on such shows as Parks and Recreation, Dead to Me, and Girls—brings a wonderful dynamism to the pandemic’s omnipresent meeting platform while Duplass offers a warm pathos as a privileged but empathetic middle-aged gay man who finds himself grasping for connection.


Buying Note: This digital screening is available to view between Thu, Jun 17 and Sun, Jun 27. We suggest watching it at 6:00pm PDT Thu, Jun 17, followed immediately by a Q&A.

Bank of America, N.A.

Cine+Mas SF, San Francisco Sketchfest, Aguilas El Ambiente

  • Language: In English and Spanish with English subtitles