Watching a German Movie

Learning German is obviously a major part of living in Germany. It is essential to daily life, for work and for embracing the new culture. When someone comes to the United States, I expect them to at least speak a little English…or at least be trying to speak English. I should reciprocate.

One major difference being here in Germany is that the majority of people speak English. Anyone our age speaks English well because they start learning it in elementary school. In a way it’s beneficial, and sometimes it’s not. As a general statement, most people want to speak English so they can improve their skills, but the only way to improve my German is by speaking it.

Vinn and I both receive private German lessons as part of the expat program for his company. We are incredibly grateful for this because it makes a huge difference and I can tell my German has drastically improved. We spend 3 hours a week speaking one-on-one with our teachers and it is amazing. It’s certainly difficult to learn German, especially because it is not a romantic language, but one thing my teacher has been encouraging me to do is to watch a movie in German.

She’s been telling me to watch movies for the past month and last week, I finally got up the courage to go to the library and rent a movie. I rented Frozen, Beauty and the Beast and You’ve Got Mail, as I shared on my last Friday Favs post. I chose these movies because I know the majority of the words in English and could easily follow along. And yesterday, I watched Frozen or Eiskönigin as it is in German. It literally translates to Ice Queen. I thought I’d share my thoughts on what it was like to watch my first movie in German.

german movie

Sorry for the horrible picture, but I watched on my laptop and sent the above picture to my mom and my sister.

I didn’t have any expectations when it came to watching the movie. I did turn on the subtitles, but in German because reading while listening is a great way to teach your brain how to sound out the different words and pronunciations. And, this was a really great idea. One negative is that the words didn’t always match the subtitles. I could follow along, but it was hard to figure out some of the new (to me) words.

The movie was exactly the same, obviously. The songs were the same, but this was the biggest difference. The Germans use a lot more words than in English. In order to keep the same tune, the songs needed to be sung really quickly. I noticed that especially for the song, Love is an Open Door or Liebe Sie effect Tor. And anyone other than Idina Menzel singing Let it Go is as bad as it sounds.

I was really surprised how well I understood the words and could easily follow along. It certainly helped that I had already seen the movie, but I felt entertained the entire time. Olaf was still my favorite character and I walked away with some new German words to my vocabulary, which is exactly why I wanted to watch it.

I think I will watch it one more time in order to really pick up more words and to help commit them to memory. I am an auditory learner and memorize the lyrics to songs after one or two times of listening to it. I’m looking forward to watching the next video!

In case you’re interested, here’s the German version of Let it Go: 

Have you ever learned another language? What tips do you have for me?


  1. Helene | 21st Sep 16

    I just moved to Heidelberg (from texas) and we took lessons while living in Nashville (we moved to Nashville for a year). And man I am not well spoken at all! We have only been here a week (or less) but you’re right, so many people speak english! Thank goodness! That German version of let it go is awesome.

    • | 21st Sep 16

      Congratulations on moving here! I have been following your journey. How do you like it so far? I loved all the songs in the German version. I’m watching Beauty and the Best next, hope it delivers.

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