During lockdown I ran “watch parties” for some motivated students (join my newsletter if you want to get invited to future ones). We each watched a short movie on our own device at the same time and then discussed it together on a chat app.

Of course, the students often had lots of questions about these movies. Sometimes these questions were to do with the plot or aspects of the culture of English-speaking countries. Other times the questions were about language as these short movies were rich in new expressions.

So, I wanted to share these movies with you to as part of a series of videos called “Watch Short Movies, Understand Fast Speech” – a special video series to help you understand fast-talking British English speakers with short films.

With each movie, you’ll discover conversational British English expressions and how they sound in fast speech so you can understand them. Using these expressions in your speech will help you sound more like a native and fit in better with British people. 

 

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About These Short Movies

 

The great thing about short movies is that they’re, well, short! That means you can watch them several times. It also means I can walk you through the whole movie so that you understand everything, not just particular scenes. 

Before you watch the movies and the walkthroughs below, here is a little background about these short movies and their creators. 

 

Sockdown

 

Sockdown is a short comedy-horror about one man’s mental breakdown during lockdown. The title is a mixture of the words “sock” and “lockdown” and you’ll see why shortly.

This short movie is not just by any man – the writer, director and star is my cousin Mark Buchanan who created this film to raise money for the UK mental health charity, Mind.

Before you watch the walkthrough below, I recommend you watch the movie first, once or twice and just make a note of how much you understood as a percentage. So 0% is nothing and 100% is everything.

As you’ll see, the movie starts off with a typical lockdown day – our hero takes a shower – be aware, there’s some brief nudity – and then settles down at his desk for a day of working from home. So far, so normal. And then, when his colleagues turn on their webcams, he discovers something strange.

Even though it only lasts a few minutes, this movie is rich in everyday British English expressions that you won’t find in a textbook. You’ll discover what they mean and how they sound so you can start using them.

Although Mark has lived in London for many years, he still has quite a strong Scottish accent, much stronger than mine. The other characters have accents more typical of the South East of England that you will probably find easier to understand.

Prime Minister’s Resignation

 

This is a short movie by the comedy duo Mid Brow based on what happened on the 24th of June 2016 when then UK prime minister, David Cameron, resigned.

In this short film, the prime minister asks Andrew, his foreign secretary to come and see him urgently to help him fix a problem with the USA.

It’s a funny look at both international diplomacy and instant messaging technology. Again, the accents are British – in this case, both are standard, South East English accents

Once again, before you watch the walkthrough below, I recommend you watch the movie first, once or twice and just make a note of how much you understood as a percentage. So 0% is nothing and 100% is everything.

Understand Fast-Taking British English Speakers With Short Movies 

 

So, you’ve just watched two short movies, understood every word and have learned plenty of new British English slang and expressions. 

Now it’s time to start using these expressions in your English. Why not try them out the next time you speak to or text a British friend? 

Let me know in the comments – what have you learned about catching fast British English speech thanks to these videos? Which new words and expressions have you picked up? 

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