Health & Family

Latinx documentaries that celebrate diversity in these divided times

Latinx-themed movies and TV shows such as "Dora the Explorer," "One Day at a Time," and "Pachamama" show Hollywood's recent efforts to appeal to more diverse audiences. But Latinx representation in entertainment is still lacking, and the media's portrayal of the community continues to promote negative stereotypes. With a growing U.S. Latinx population, it's more important than ever for Latinx kids to see positive role models. And whether young people are viewing a culture as an outsider or as a member, it's critical for the film and television industries to prioritize representation of Latinx characters and culture.

But kids can't wait that long. That's why we unearthed some amazing documentaries that bring Latinx culture to light with inspiring and touching portrayals of the culture. Although each features distinct stories, they have something in common: All highlight the importance of diversity, love, and acceptance. Your kids will get positive messages about community building, perseverance, overcoming adversity, and the importance of taking care of our planet.

"Underwater Dreams" (10+)

This documentary follows a group of high school students who are all sons of undocumented Mexican immigrants as they participate in an underwater robotics contest against fierce competition. Due to scarce resources, the team has to use their ingenuity to finish the project with low-cost materials. We see the challenges and disadvantages they have to wrestle with and how their hard work and discipline pay off. "Underwater Dreams" offers powerful lessons about curiosity, perseverance, and teamwork and shows kids what you can achieve if you never stop dreaming.

"Peru: Tesoro Escondido" (12+)

This Netflix documentary directed by the Uruguayan filmmaker Luis Ara brings viewers along for an eight-year journey through South America, including remote desert and popular spots like Machu Picchu and Lima. The film shares some secrets of these magical spots, as well as their incredible history. "Peru: Tesoro Escondido" celebrates diversity in all things, including landscape, food, and culture. Themes include environmentalism, respect for differences, and appreciation of cultural history.

"Inocente" (13+)

"Inocente" is an award-winning movie about a 15-year-old girl and undocumented immigrant raised in violence, neglect, and poverty. Despite the odds, she discovers her talent for painting – and it proves to be her savior. Viewers will find rich topics of conversation in "Inocente," including race relations, immigration issues, and the character strengths of resilience, gratitude, and empathy.

"The Latino List" (14+)

"The Latino List" highlights 16 Latinx public and influential figures, including America Ferrera, Eva Longoria, and John Leguizamo, whose work has had a big impact in the United States. The 16 discuss what it means for them to represent Latinx culture in the United States, as well as the challenges of equality, diversity, racial issues, and stereotypes they've faced throughout their early lives and careers. They also explore immigration problems and share their perspectives. This documentary provides a great opportunity for families to talk about character strengths like integrity and perseverance and the contributions made by Latinx people in many fields.

"Humano" (15+)

With a camera and 200 questions about the meaning of life and the purpose of mankind, 25-year-old Argentinian Alan Stivelman takes a three-month journey through the Andes Mountains with a shaman named Placido. During his time with Placido, Stivelman experiences physical challenges and mystical rituals and hears myths with ancient wisdom that lead him to an epiphany about the meaning of life. With incredible cinematography and storytelling, Humano exposes meaningful folklore and hidden landscapes in the South American mountains, and showcases the fact that, in the end, we're all human.

Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out our ratings and recommendations at www.commonsense.org.

  Comments