Based on the true childhood experiences of Noah Baumbach and his brother, The Squid and the Whale tells the touching story of two young boys dealing with their parents' divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980s.
In Mexico City, late teen friends Tenoch Iturbide and Julio Zapata are feeling restless as their respective girlfriends are traveling together through Europe before they all begin the next phase of their lives at college. At a lavish family wedding, Tenoch and Julio meet Luisa Cortés, the twenty-something wife of Tenoch's cousin Jano, the two who have just moved to Mexico from Spain. Tenoch and Julio try to impress the beautiful Luisa by telling her that they will be taking a trip to the most beautiful secluded beach in Mexico called la Boca del Cielo (translated to Heaven's Mouth), the trip and the beach which in reality don't exist. When Luisa learns of Jano's latest marital indiscretion straight from the horse's mouth, she takes Tenoch and Julio's offer to go along on this road trip, meaning that Tenoch and Julio have to pull together quickly a road trip to a non-existent beach. They decide to head toward one suggested by their friend Saba, who seems a little confused himself of ... Written by
La vida tiene sus maneras de enseñarnos. La vida tiene sus maneras de confundirnos. La vida tiene sus maneras de cambiarnos. La vida tiene sus maneras de asombrarnos. La vida tiene sus maneras de herirnos. La vida tiene sus maneras de curarnos. La vida tiene sus maneras de inspirarnos.
"To Love Somebody"
(B. Gibb, R. Gibb)
Performed by Eagle Eye Cherry
100% Gibb Brothers Music (BMI), all rights in the USA administered by Careers-BMG Music Publishing,
Artist appears courtesy of Diesel Music AB See more »
"Disruptive and unprofessional" voiceover? Puhleeeze!
First off, thanks to monty clift for hitting the nail on the head. Y Tu is just as much a complex political coming-of-age saga for the country of Mexico as it is a "silly little" coming-of-age tale of two teenage boys.
But let me take issue with those shallow comments that denigrate the voiceover narration in this movie. I normally hate voiceovers in movies. I think voiceover narration is most often the lazy screenwriter's best friend. In American studio fare the voiceovers tend to be badly written, unnecessary, redundant, excessively heart-tugging, or all of the above. But Y Tu's voiceover is masterful. First of all, the way the entire soundtrack ceases for each bit of narration is wonderful -- as if the movie is holding its breath while we are told another crucial nugget of the story. This is a voiceover that is both razaor sharp in its attention to detail and beautifully scripted in its illumination of the characters. Two examples:
Example No. 1: Early on, as Julio and Tenoch are chattering ninety miles an hour with Luisa in the car, the sound ceases and the narrator tells us the following: "Julio and Tenoch told Luisa many stories. Each one reinforced their bond creating an inseparable entity. Their stories, although adorned by personal mythologies, were true. But as truth is always partial, some facts were omitted. It was never mentioned how Julio lit matches to hide the smell after he used Tenoch's bathroom. Or that Tenoch used his foot to lift the toilet seat at Julio's house. Those were details one didn't need to know about the other." Now that, to me, is exquisite narration. In a few words with a couple of seemingly mundane details, we are given a novella's worth of insight into the background, relationship, motivation, and behavior of the two boys. If you really listen to (or in the case of subtitles, really read) and digest these words, you could write, from this brief narrative fragment alone, a doctoral dissertation on the relationship between Julio and Tenoch.
Example No. 2: After Julio accidentally stumbles upon Tenoch having sex with Luisa, he is devastated. As he sits forlornly by the motel pool, the narrator tells us: "Julio couldn't understand what he was feeling. It wasn't rage. The only time he had felt this pain in his stomach was when he was 8, when he woke up thirsty one night, and on his way to the kitchen found his mother in his godfather's arms. Julio walked away quietly and never mentioned the incident to anyone." Minutes later, after Julio gets his revenge by telling Tenoch that he had sex with Tenoch's girlfriend, the narrator gives us this parallel story about Tenoch: "Tenoch had only felt this pain in his stomach when he was 11, when he saw his father's photo on the front page of a newspaper. The article linked him to a scandal involving the sale of contaminated food to the poor. Tenoch and his family moved to Vancouver for eight months. He never questioned why." Now if you don't stop to ponder the significance of these two bits of information about Julio and Tenoch, I submit that you've missed a big, delicious chunk of the movie. It's all there, beautifully, in just a few sentences. Why did Julio have the knot in his stomach after seeing his best friend on top of Luisa? And why the heck did he have the same knot at eight years old when he saw his mother in his godfather's arms? Maybe, just maybe, . . . And why did Tenoch's only similar pain come in a childhood incident involving his father and a family flight to Canada? And the last words of each story - one "never mentioned" and the other "never questioned" - gives us another novella's worth of character information regarding Julio and Tenoch.
Pardon me, but I get chills just thinking about the quality of narration in this movie. See it, listen, read, and lose yourself in one of the most wonderful, multi-layered, character-driven films of this or any other year.
P.S. The acting from the three leads is superb. All three could be nominated for an Oscar and I wouldn't bat an eye.
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