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The Best Netflix Indonesia Movies to Learn Indonesian


Read a couple of pop culture articles in English, and you’ll notice right away that Netflix is a pretty indelible part of Western entertainment these days.

It’s almost like if you take a break from catching up on shows and movies, everybody will be speaking a totally different language when you come back.

When you study a language, you’re going to be hard-pressed to avoid the pop culture that goes along with it. And on Netflix, Indonesia has tons of movies and TV series for you to enjoy already.

But one of the biggest obstacles to people teaching themselves languages is convenience. Try to sign up for an Indonesian streaming service using an American bank card (and with shaky knowledge of Indonesian, at that) and you might want to just throw up your hands in despair.

Fortunately for you, and for millions of people around the world, Netflix is already well on its way to capturing the streaming market worldwide. And of course, that includes Indonesia.

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Table of Contents

  1. Does Netflix Work in Indonesia? Is it Worth the Netflix Indonesia Price?
  2. Netflix Indonesia Film List: The Best Indonesian Stuff on Netflix
  3. Experience Your Favorite Show Through Indonesian Eyes
  4. Using Audio Descriptions to Get More Indonesian Per Show
  5. Conclusion

1. Does Netflix Work in Indonesia? Is it Worth the Netflix Indonesia Price?

Best Ways to Learn

So, does Netflix work in Indonesia? If you happen to be in Indonesia at this very moment, you may have noticed an uncomfortable fact: some Indonesian ISPs straight-up block Netflix.

They’re within their rights to do so under Indonesian law, but it’s a total pain for people who are used to the particular selection that Netflix has to offer.

In that case, it may be worth it to shell out for a VPN, or do some research on which ISPs or mobile providers in your area don’t have this block.

Otherwise, whether in-country or out, you may also notice that there isn’t a whole lot of diversity when it comes to Netflix Indonesia content available. That’s because the Indonesian market is one that Netflix is currently expanding into—meaning that the selection is certain to grow with time. So, the answer to “Does Netflix work in Indonesia?” is “Sometimes, and hopefully more in the future.”

2. Netflix Indonesia Film List: The Best Indonesian Stuff on Netflix

Movie Genres

1- Kuntilanak

Do you like horror movies? I sure hope so, because Indonesians definitely do. Kuntilanak is the name of a ghost in traditional Indonesian and Malay folklore, and this is one of the best Indonesian horror movies on Netflix at the moment.

A young woman named Samantha moves to a creepy old boarding house in Jakarta. Even though the landlady specifically tells her the ghost stories related to the house, and that nobody is allowed to go to the second floor, Samantha doesn’t mind.

As the supernatural events unfold, you’ll get a great rundown of Indonesian spiritual folklore, specifically Javanese folklore related to ghosts.

2- Merantau

Remember that iconic moment in The Matrix when Morpheus fought Neo to test his skills? Everyone, on and off the screen, gets such a thrill from seeing a teacher prove their excellence. In Merantau, a martial arts teacher does just that—at least at first.

Soon after arriving in the big city, he’s thrown into a criminal underworld where he must use his wits and his fists to fight for justice, and to save his own skin. Here, you’ll learn a ton of fast-paced street slang in Indonesian—just don’t try it out in the classroom unless you’re as good at fighting as he is! If you’re looking for an excellent Indonesian action movie, Netflix has you covered with this one.

3- Surga Yang Tak Dirindukan

This is one of the best Indonesian dramas on Netflix in the past few years, both critically and in terms of audience reception. That may be due to the way it treats love and marriage—with a challenging and unique viewpoint for a country that largely maintains conservative social values.

Arini and her husband Pras have a healthy, trusting, and happy marriage. But one day, Pras unexpectedly encounters a woman trying to end her own life after finding out about her fiance’s infidelity. What can Pras do when this woman starts making advances toward him, at the same time that he learns about the infidelity issues in Arini’s family?

4- Soekarno

Indonesia, in case you weren’t aware, was a colony of the Netherlands for more than a century. Thanks largely to a spirit of nationalist unity in the early twentieth century, the Dutch ended up recognizing Indonesia as an independent country in 1949.

That process, many argue, would not have been possible without the leader Soekarno (spelled Sukarno after orthographic reform). This Netflix Indonesian film tells his story. Since it’s an Indonesian film and Soekarno is still very widely revered in the country, you can imagine that it’s a very positive portrait.

Interestingly enough, the film was briefly banned from showing in Indonesia due to criticisms about creative liberties taken with historical accuracy. Open Netflix in Indonesia, watch the film to practice your Indonesian, but check out a textbook if you want to really learn what happened!

5- 3 Srikandi

It’s 1988 and the world of sports is gearing up for the 24th Olympics in Seoul. Do you remember who won silver in women’s team archery? Take a wild guess based on what language you’re reading about.

It was, in fact, Indonesia’s first-ever Olympic medal, obtained by a truly outstanding effort on the part of the contestants and their coach. This Indonesian Netflix movie tells the story of a coach brought out of retirement to turn these women into world-class athletes, despite the pressures they face from their communities and the world stage. Not a whole lot of sports films come out of Indonesia, but this is one of the best, so open Netflix in Indonesia and start watching!

6- Cahaya Dari Timur: Beta Maluku

Another one of the best Indonesian movies on Netflix and very highly-regarded, this drama and sports film stands out by being centered far from the urban nexus of Jakarta.

Ambon is a relatively small island in Maluku Province, in the eastern part of the Indonesian archipelago. There, religious conflicts are liable to erupt between the Christian and Muslim populations, as well as ethnic conflicts between different migrant groups. It is there that one youth soccer coach had the idea to bring young people together through sports. Is that idea destined for success, or doomed for failure?

7- Laskar Pelangi

Though this might count as an “older” film by modern streaming standards, this 2008 film still holds up extremely well. Every Indonesian knows it, and it even sparked an explosion in tourism to the shooting locations.

This too is an inspiring story about changing the lives of children in need. A small school in rural Belitung (eastern Sumatra) is about to close due to lack of enrollment. When one more student arrives, the ten students and their teacher become close friends and all earn each other’s respect over the course of the school year. Many people see this film as a love letter not only to rural Indonesia, but also to young people persevering in adverse circumstances.

8- Filosofi Kopi

Indonesia is a rapidly developing country, and no matter what city you go to, you’ll see little coffee shops and bakeries opening up all over the place.

This Indonesian film on Netflix captures that spirit while also putting an edge on the importance of friendship and money on it. It was well-received, too—just like how Laskar Pelangi fueled tourism to Belitung, if you go to Yogyakarta today and ask around for the places where they shot Filosofi Kopi, there’ll still be people taking selfies.

A businessman places a wager on a struggling coffee shop that could prove an amazing boon. But when two friends are running a business together, it’s not always a great idea to bring either crazy ideas or big winnings into the mix. Spoiler alert—things work out well enough for there to be a Filosofi Kopi 2.

9- Single

Young people all over the world can sometimes feel an enormous pressure on them to find a relationship. Once you reach a certain age, if it hasn’t happened yet, it can become all-consuming.

Ebi is a young man in Jakarta, relatively aimless in life and without any elements of support. When his successful younger brother announces his wedding day, Ebi realizes that to appear without a girlfriend at the wedding would be to invite ridicule from everyone he knows. What does it mean for him to start looking for love, and will he find it in time?

10- The Night Comes for Us

If you wanted a marker of how seriously Netflix takes the Indonesian market, look no further than this. Netflix acquired the distribution rights in Asia shortly after its premiere, and for good reason. This Netflix Indonesian action movie is yet another brilliantly done film set in Southeast Asia.

Action superstars Iko Uwais and Joe Taslim star as elite fighters for a notorious drug triad. After a moral dispute, things get heated and stay heated. It’s not a movie for the squeamish, but connoisseurs of Asian action cinema will go wild.

3. Experience Your Favorite Show Through Indonesian Eyes

Improve Pronunciation

So, you’ve looked into Netflix Indonesia prices, VPNs, and our list of great Netflix Indonesian movies. But how can you actually use this to learn Indonesian?

Some people like dubbed foreign films, and others go for subtitles every time. In general, Indonesians tend to only dub media for children. It’s tough to find imported DVDs with Indonesian audio tracks—pretty much the only way is to catch the broadcasts on the kids’ TV channels.

But you’re in luck—tons of international Indonesian Netflix series for kids have audio tracks.

If you’re familiar with these shows from having watched them in another language before, then you’ve just found one of the smoothest and easiest ways to get started with watching native-level content in Indonesian.

And it’s not necessarily because kids’ shows are “simpler.” Often, the wordplay and fast-paced banter can be just as complex as a show meant for adults.

Instead, dubbed shows are easier because they were probably written by people from a cultural background that you’re more familiar with. The overall plot and storyline is likely to resonate with you more than something from a purely Indonesian cultural background.

When it comes to optimizing Netflix for language learning, things definitely don’t stop with dubbing.

4. Using Audio Descriptions to Get More Indonesian Per Show

Ever tried turning on those audio descriptions in the audio/subtitles menu?

They’re originally meant for vision-impaired people. These audio tracks simply use the space between dialogue lines to let you know what’s going on in the scene through additional narration.

In case you run off and check right this instant, keep in mind that they only show up in whatever language you have your Netflix interface set to. Change that to Indonesian in your profile settings—in fact, you should probably do that anyway! Definitely a smart addition to your Indonesian Netflix series-watching!

So what difference does this extra audio track make for learning Indonesian?

You get to hear how Indonesians would describe scenes naturally, for other Indonesians. You might have a scene of two guys talking over coffee, and one of them takes a long drink.

Anybody knows how to say “he takes a long drink” in their own language, but that kind of specific wording isn’t something you’re likely to pick up from a textbook or from watching shows.

Right now, audio description in Indonesian is only available for a handful of movies, and, apart from The Night Comes for Us, they’re all Indonesian horror on Netflix. But the more you watch with it on, the more Netflix’s algorithms report that it’s in demand—and the more you’ll get in the future! So do be sure to start using this whenever you can while binging your favorite Indonesian Netflix series or movies!

5. Conclusion

Ready to watch Netflix in Indonesian? As a very last resort, you can still use subtitles in Indonesian to improve your language ability.

Switch the audio track to something you don’t understand (or turn it off completely) and try to follow the plot just from reading the Indonesian dialogue. It’s not as great a solution as the other stuff on this list, but it sure beats not learning Indonesian at all.

And that’s really the main point here. You don’t have to rearrange your life around studying Indonesian (though that would certainly be an interesting challenge), but as long as you’re doing something in Indonesian whenever you can, you’re going to be making progress.

The fastest way, in fact, would be to use this sort of immersive learning as a healthy supplement to a regular course of study. When you learn a new word or phrase through ordinary lessons and then run across it immediately in “real-life Indonesian,” it supercharges that memory. Plus it’s a great feeling!

Language just requires some getting used to. The more relaxed you make your journey, the more permanent your knowledge will be.

So, reader, which of these Netflix Indonesia movies do you want to watch first, and why? Are there any other Netflix Indonesian movies we missed? Let us know in the comments!

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