While National Hispanic Heritage Month is over (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15), representation is always worth celebrating year-round. Here are 10 movies and shows that you should watch to honor Hispanic heritage and culture!
1. Selena (1997)
Starring Jennifer Lopez as Selena, this biopic follows the American Tejano singer’s beginnings, height of fame and tragic death. The film serves as a touching tribute to the “Queen of Tejano Music”, honoring her life and legacy. In 2021, “Selena” was selected to be preserved in the United States’ National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”
2. Real Women Have Curves (2002)
In her feature film debut, America Ferrera stars as Ana García, a first-generation Mexican American girl. Poignant and meaningful, the coming-of-age film follows Ana as she journeys through womanhood and struggles to balance her culture with her dreams.
3. Ugly Betty (2006-2010)
When quirky, naive and painfully unfashionable Betty Suarez lands a job as an assistant at a high-fashion Manhattan magazine, she is thrust into an unfamiliar world. Starring a more seasoned Ferrera in the Emmy-winning titular role, “Ugly Betty” is a hilarious comedy about family, friendships and fashion.
4. The Book of Life (2014)
Drawing inspiration from Mexican folk tales, “The Book of Life” follows an adventure through the afterlife on the Day of the Dead and a tense love triangle between childhood friends. The masterful storytelling is complete with stunning animation and a creative soundtrack, making for an entertaining watch.
5. Jane the Virgin (2014-2019)
¡Ay, dios mío! When hardworking, religious and virginal Jane Villanueva,played by Gina Rodriguez,is accidentally impregnated, she is catapulted into her own real-life telenovela. Complete with a love triangle, corrupt business dealings and family drama, Jane must navigate this unexpected chapter of her life.
6. Coco (2017)
Would this list be complete without one of the biggest Pixar movies of all time? “Coco” follows a young boy, Miguel, who dreams of becoming a musician, despite being born into a music-hating family. After accidentally ending up in the Land of the Dead, Miguel seeks help from his great-great-grandfather to change the minds of his family members and pursue his dream. Winning two Academy Awards, Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song, “Coco” is a heartwarming film that celebrates Mexican culture and emphasizes the importance of family.
7. One Day at a Time (2017-2020)
A reboot of the 1975 series of the same name, “One Day at a Time” tells the story of a modern-day Cuban American family navigating the difficulties of life and tackling 21st-century issues. The 2017 series stars Justina Machado and Rita Moreno as mother and grandmother, and it has been critically acclaimed for its representation.
8. Cassandro (2023)
“Cassandro” tells the story of gay Mexican American wrestler Saúl Armendáriz, also known as Cassandro. As he rises in the world of lucha libre, Cassandro also learns to accept and embrace his true self. Feel-good and entertaining, this biopic is a must watch.
9. Blue Beetle (2023)
Released in the summer of 2023, “Blue Beetle” is a family-friendly blockbuster hit. The superhero movie stars Xolo Maridueña as Jaime Reyes, a recent Mexican American college graduate who is thrust into the role of the Blue Beetle. With the help of his family, Jaime grapples with his new identity and accepts his destiny.
10. A Million Miles Away (2023)
Based on the true story of NASA astronaut Jose M. Hernandez, “A Million Miles Away” is a biopic about Hernandez’s life, from working on farm fields in Mexico to traveling through outer space. Starring Michael Peña, the film emphasizes the importance of determination and family support, truly making an inspirational story.
This appeared in the October 12th Daily Nexus printed edition.