Language Lessons

When Adam’s husband surprises him with weekly Spanish lessons, he’s unsure about where or how this new element will fit into his well-structured life. However, when an unexpected tragedy turns his life upside down, Adam decides to carry on with the lessons and develops a complicated emotional bond with his Spanish teacher, Cariño. But do you really know someone just because you’ve experienced a traumatic moment with them?
A tight-knit production team is behind this clever film that revisits the classic set-up of an unlikely friendship between a woman and a man. Cuban-American actor Natalie Morales, who is also the film’s director, has previously worked with her co-star and co-writer Mark Duplass on the HBO series Room 104. This level of comfort and trust becomes apparent in the fluidity of the film’s narration, whose shifts from comedy to drama echo the ups and downs of life. It is also shown in the actors’ heartfelt performances, with the two protagonists gradually growing in depth and adapting to each other. Morales cunningly uses the film’s unusual format to observe this evolving relationship from different angles, both literally and figuratively. Bittersweet, honest and at times darkly funny, Language Lessons is a disarmingly moving exploration of platonic love.
by Natalie Morales
with Natalie Morales, Mark Duplass, Desean Terry
USA 2020 English, Spanish 91’ Colour


  • Natalie Morales (Cariño)
  • Mark Duplass (Adam)
  • Desean Terry (Will)


Director Natalie Morales
Written by Mark Duplass, Natalie Morales
Cinematography Jeremy Mackie
Editing Aleshka Ferrero
Music Gaby Moreno
Sound Design Zach Goheen
Sound Daniel S. McCoy
Make-Up Elle Favorule
Production Manager Tyler Romary
Producers Mel Eslyn, Will Dowsett, Ashley Edouard
Executive Producers Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, Natalie Morales

Natalie Morales

The actor, director, writer and activist played her first leading role in 2008 in the series The Middleman. There followed appearances in White Collar, Parks and Recreation, Abby, The Newsroom, Girls and Santa Clarita Diet. Most recently, she has been seen in the action blockbuster Stuber and the series Dead to Me. She has directed episodes in the series James Joyce’s Love Letters, Room 104 and Mr. Student Body President. She is also a member of the Creative Council of Everytown for Gun Safety which campaigns against gun violence in the USA.


2014 James Joyce’s Love Letters; TV series 2018 Room 104; TV series, 1 episode · Mr. Student Body President; TV series, several episodes 2020 Room 104; TV series, 1 episode · Language Lessons

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2021