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From the recent comments on this film board, it's amazing how people can
watch this film all the way through and at the end not have any idea what it
This was quite simply one of the best films I've seen in recent years. Using three central characters -- two immature adolescent males and a young woman in crisis -- set in a road-trip situation, it was hardly a road-trip movie. Nor was it an adolescent movie. Nor was it a woman-in-crisis movie. Nor was it about sex. Instead, what starts out with a sizzling but ditzy prologue becomes something much deeper and much more profound as it goes along. By the end I was breathless and somewhat stunned. The character study is amazing. The societal insights are haunting. The shared humanity it exposes is painful at time but ultimately reaffirming and uplifting. These are three of the most memorable, identifiable and completely human characters I've seen on screen in ages. They taught me more about life and the human species than the last ten movies I've seen put together. I'll not soon forget Julio, Tenoch and Luisa and their eye-opening journey to Boca del Cielo.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Y tu mamá también offers an extreme insight into the rampant sexuality
of Mexico's young adults. The film depicts lives of two teenage boys
against the backdrop of present-day Mexico. In his film, Alfonso Cuarón
not only describes the sexual experimentation of Mexican youth, but he
also addresses the impact wavering politics and an unstable economy has
on the Mexican people as a whole.
The film takes place in 2001, just one year after the election of Vincente Fox, a member of the opposition party. After about 70 years of revolutionary presidents, Mexican government underwent a radical change during the time of the narrative, as well as the film's release. Mexico has undergone numerous financial fluctuations throughout its history as a country, and recent years have brought along various economic lows. The extreme changes in economy throughout history caused Mexico to have a large separation between each of its economic classes. In his narrative the two young boys who take a journey to a beautiful land with a beautiful woman seem to represent the desires of most Mexicans during this insecure time.
Julio (Gael García Bernal) and Tenoch (Diego Luna) embark on a thrilling journey filled with sexual exploration and an investigation of their inner selves. After convincing the beautiful Luisa (Maribel Verdú) to take a trip with them to an imaginary beach, the trio heads off in search of adventure. Self-discovery ensues when Luisa seduces both boys and convinces them to make love with each other during their last romantic encounter. The raw sexuality displayed throughout this movie seems to encapsulate the uninhibited nature of Mexican youth.
While the full frontal nudity and unashamed sexual acts performed on screen may be disturbing to an American audience, Mexican cinema seems to embrace sexuality with open arms. While they do not leave anything to the imagination, the sex scenes throughout Y tu mamá también are beautifully orchestrated. These scenes absorb the magnificence of sexual attraction and the inhibition that comes along with this temptation.
While the film utilizes the characteristics of raw sexuality at its core, the underlying message of the film seems to encompass the trials of politics and economy within Mexican society. Julio comes from a lower-middle-class family, while his best friend, Tenoch, is the son of a high-ranking politician. As their mental age begins to grow throughout the film, the distinction among their varying classes also becomes clear. It is this distinction that ultimately drives them apart. Cuarón uses the distinct lives of these two boys to comment on the state of Mexico's political affairs. While the large separation between classes is rooted in economics, the separation also occurs within the lifestyles and moral character of each class's constituents.
Cuarón's film Y tu mamá también depicts the raw sexuality apparent in Mexican society, and also indirectly comments on the political atmosphere of the country. Through the use of a compelling story of self-discovery and the beautiful landscapes of the Mexican countryside, Cuarón offers his audience a glimpse of Mexico through the eyes of one of its citizens. While the underlying meanings apparent throughout the film are deeply rooted in the political principles of Mexican society, the narrative of the film introduces a moving story that forces its audience to fall in love with its characters despite their downfalls. On a scale of 1 10, Y tu mamá también is definitely a 10.
I read an article about this movie and some have referred to this movie as
Mexican version of "American Pie." I believe the joke was that it should
called "Latin-American Pie." Now, I enjoyed the "AP" movies, and don't
believe them to be crappy movies, but they possess no depth and substance.
"Y Tu Mama Tambien" is much more sexually explicit than those two films
together, but it's in no way exploitative. It's a slice-of-life story
involving teens, and who's gonna deny that 80 percent of a teenager's life
revolves around sex?
The two main characters, though utterly repulsive in nature, aren't totally unsympathetic, like the characters in Larry Clark's "Kids." Through the narration, we get a sense of the characters' backgrounds and why they are the way they are. We aren't simply thrown into this torrent of teenage decadence without a net.
I'm sure very few people will regard this as a comedy, but it's filled with hilarious moments, mostly involving the explicit sexual conversations. Though it leaves you with a sad feeling at the end, it doesn't keep you depressed the whole way through.
As well as being a character-driven youth drama/road movie, it's basically a film about life, most specifically fate and how it works in mysterious ways and how many people live parallel lives and simply aren't aware. I'm not going to pretend as if I wasn't stimulated by the sex scenes, or seeing the Spanish actress who plays Luisa naked, but I didn't enjoy it just because of its sexual content. Too many movies nowadays forbid you the pleasure of going on a character's journey. Too many movies are all about plot, and more specially about plot devices. Screenwriters spend so much time developing plot that character development is put on the backburner. When you get to know the characters this deeply, you're able to connect with them, feel their pleasure and feel their pain. "Y Tu Mama Tambien" is one of those rare, character-driven gems that is definitely worth a trip to the video store!
My score: 9 (out of 10)
Alfonso Cuaron is simply one of the best Mexican directors in recent years
in Mexican film production. His incredible AIDS-driven comedy, "Solo Con Tu
Pareja" was maybe the most funny Mexican picture in a long time, and his
always present criticism to the way of life of Mexican people in a city such
as Mexico City, is incredible accurate and clever. His other projects in the
United States, "Little Princess" and "Great Expectations" were
beautifully-manufactured motion pictures, with the help (or support, if you
may) of the marvellous photographer Emmanuel Lubenzki ("Sleepy Hollow", and
the above-mentioned Cuaron movies). Returning to his home country this time,
Cuaron displays such magic and poetic visuals, in contrast with the subtle
criticism to the society in Mexico, and the clever and sharp dialogs between
the leading stars, using every word young Mexicans use to apply in their
"Y Tu Mama Tambien" (And Your Mother Too) is, in the surface, a really funny story about 2 friends-almost-brothers, Tenoch Iturbide (an outstanding Diego Luna) and Julio (a really incredible performance for the recent Ariel, the Mexican Academy Award, winner Gael Garcia Bernal, in another excellent portray of a young guy with "issues"), that plan a trip to an imaginary beach, "Boca del Cielo" (Heaven´s Mouth) in order to flirt with a Spanish girl, married with Tenoch's cousin, and portrayed by a credible Maribel Verdu.
But this is only the "surface" of this road movie. In fact, we are dealing with dreams and realities, with social problems and political ones. Tenoch is a young guy living with a millionaire family, son of a wealthy businessman with friends in the highest "stairs" of Mexican politics, with a second name such as Iturbide (one of the most important and powerful leaders of Mexican politic history). And, in contrast, Julio is a middle-low-class guy, living with his mother, brothers and sisters, in a small department, with a last name such as Zapata (a revolutionary leader in Mexican history, with native origins, that took part in the Revolution at the beginning of 20th Century). This is a clever and sharp critic of the different models of living of these 2 friends, and in fact, of all Mexican citizens (I know it, because I'm Mexican, too).
Also, the movie has an excellent narration by Daniel Gimenez Cacho, star of a previous Cuaron film, "Solo Con Tu Pareja", that explains the things we cannot see, but that we can understand and feel. The "subtle critic about Mexican society and traditions" that I have talked about all along this comment, is the one thing that makes this picture go from a funny comedy to an intelligent essay of the lives of young people, social classes, discovery and re-discovery of personality and our own soul, and the final revelation of who we are and what we become when time passes by. In the lives of Julio and Tenoch there is no redemption, but a clear message of their goal in life, their true feelings about friendship, and their sexuality. This road trip is only a pretext to tell a story about discovery and finding our true nature.
Yes, maybe it is a little provocative and bold, but because of these characteristics, "And Your Mother Too" is an incredible motion picture, true to its meaning and compromised with the reality it is trying to show. We care about this people, we care about their problems, and at the end, we care about our own society, and we care about what we have become with time. And the true meaning of the movie's title, "And Your Mother Too", within the narrative of the film, is simply hilarious.
Give this movie a chance, and see it. You won't be disappointed. It has an excellent direction, excellent photography, its is very sexy, it showcases credible performances by all its cast. But above all, it has a real story, real character development, and real power. One great movie from a great Mexican director. Maybe not his best, but really near.
`Y tu Mama tambien,' a stunning new product of the New Mexican Cinema that
is achieving crossover success in the American film market, is a frank, open
and uninhibited celebration of teenage sex masterfully directed by Alfonso
Cuaron and beautifully enacted by a trio of first-rate performers. Don't
miss it provided you are not offended by sometimes-graphic depictions of
sexual activity (please note that the film is unrated). The matter-of-fact,
unflinching way in which Cuaron films his sex scenes purges them of
indecency and helps to bring a new frankness to a subject all too often
approached by American filmmakers from the angle of tittering exploitation
(wherein the directors and writers seem as adolescent in their attitudes as
the characters on the screen).
Not so here. The film centers around two boyhood chums, Tenoch and Julio, just embarking on their careers as university students, who, for one last glorious summer, decide to revel in all the wildness, hedonism and promiscuity that carefree adolescence has to offer (the title of the film is emblematic of the youthful immaturity of the characters). With their girlfriends away in Europe, the two decide to take a road trip through Mexico with Luisa, the attractive young wife of one of Tenoch's stuffed shirt cousins. While on the journey, the three of them not only indulge in all the bizarre sexual hijinks that both the situation and their hormones would lead one to expect, but they also learn a thing or two about life, about relationships and about how sex can be used both to bring people closer together as well as to pull them farther apart. For indeed, one thing the film makes very clear both to the characters and to us is that sex can often be employed as a weapon to wound those we care most about, especially with all the power shifting that takes place even in some of the most non-sexual of relationships. The boys also discover that sex can be used as a sublimation to avoid recognizing what one REALLY wants. This awakening leads to a final scene that is almost heartbreaking in its understated poignancy and pathos.
One of the most unsettling and thereby controversial aspects of the film (and the one that will make it uncomfortable for many in the audience) is that it refuses to take a moralistic stance regarding its characters' behavior. The filmmakers neither approve of nor condemn what these young people do they merely record the events with an attitude of detached objectivity that precludes any finger-wagging disapproval. If the characters learn any `lessons' from their experiences, they do so strictly on a subliminal, subconscious level and the same goes for the audience.
As a director, Cuaron displays a confidence and spirit rarely seen in filmmaking today. Along with his co-writer, Carlos Cuaron, the director has chosen to take an objective, almost documentary-style approach to the material, allowing the scenes to play themselves out in a way that makes them feel realistic, spontaneous and almost unscripted. He uses a shaky, handheld camera much of the time to enhance the immediacy of the experience. We often feel as if we are eavesdropping on the lives of these three fascinating individuals. As a result, not a single moment of the film feels forced, contrived or artificial. (Only the fate of one of the characters seems a bit convenient and contrived). Cuaron is not afraid to let the camera linger on a scene a moment two longer than necessary nor is he afraid to let the camera wander off on its own from time to time, such as when it spontaneously follows a woman into the back of a roadside café to show us the cooks hard at work in the kitchen. Many of the shots even have an elegiac, travelogue feel to them.
Cuaron has been blessed with three outstanding young actors Diego Luna, Gael Garcia and Maribel Verdu who bring his characters to vivid, endearing life. Utterly naturalistic in their every move, gesture and facial expression, the three of them play off each other in such a way that we never doubt for a moment the truth and sincerity of what we are seeing. American actors please take note!
`Y tu Mama tambien' is a stylistic triumph from first moment to last. It has a playful, expansive spirit, as reflected in its openhearted attitude towards sex, its wry humor, its affection for its people and its country, and its visual appeal and inventiveness (Emmanuel Lubezki did the glorious cinematography). The film has heart, soul and chutzpah. What more could a jaded filmgoer want?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I must say that this film is about as close as can be to the realities of typical male behavior. They talk and act the way most do at that age. This film is frank and honest with the viewer from the opening to the close. This is not a film that totally focuses on the whole universe around sex. Julio and Tenoch really think they have it all figured out but Luisa really shows them the ways on how to truly appreciate a woman sexually. This film will undoubtably turn some off. The film revolves around sexuality and is quite perverse. The film shows male behavior as it coincides with who he has sex with and how he pleases himself. Luisa,however, wants to teach them about how to treat women in a way that is more intimate. I will say that this film really raised my eyebrows. I don't come across a film very often that really understands the norms and peculiarity of male subjects like this film does. There are other layers to the film. It is an oddysey(or road trip)through Mexico and you see the signs of a badly impoverished and wildly policed enviornment. The film really displays the growth of the young men as well as the complex sexuality and maturity of a woman who wants to show them ways to better themselves toward the opposite sex. Maribel Verdu is excellent as the complex woman who truly comes to terms with who she is and wants to be. The film has a surprising element between the two teens that I never saw coming. This film really works on many levels. The narration to the film only adds more quality and fascinating elements to the ongoing story. *****/*****
First off, thanks to monty clift for hitting the nail on the head. Y Tu
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
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.
This is a very different Mexican film. One in which you can really
appreciate the sure hand of director Alfonso Cuaron working at the top
of his form with an excellent group of actors, which proves that when
someone of this magnitude decides to make a good film about interesting
characters in contemporary Mexico, one can expect a fine finished
Alfonso and Carlos Cuaron have created people and situations that are very believable. The script is fine. "Y tu mama tambien" is about awakening and about reaching maturity. It's a great Mexican Road movie done with a lot of care.
The Cuarons shows us a slice of life that could happen, not only in that country, but one that is universal. Producers and directors in Mexico should see this film and learn how to do future movies, even though the popular taste runs into the horrible soap operas, popular in Mexican TV. The Cuarons have turned out a magnificent script and have turned away from those popular melodramas that are a staple of the film industry of our neighbor to the South.
Gael Garcia Bernal, who was excellent in Amores Perros, here demonstrates once again what an actor can do, given the right scenario and obviously a lot of freedom to give life to Julio. Diego Luna is also very credible in his portrayal of the son of a rich man on the road to discover himself. Obviously, the underlying theme is that both like each other, but it never comes out, as they both are so closeted and think themselves of being straight in such a macho atmosphere.
Maribel Verdu plays the pivotal role of Luisa. She sees right through the boys, but has to play the part since they are the salvation from her miserable marriage. Here as in other Spanish films, she lets us know she is an actress who likes to take chances. This was the right vehicle for her and she takes advantage of a role that makes her outshine the rest of the cast.
One can only hope more interesting things coming from this director and Mexico's gain is our loss, as it's obvious Mr. Cuaron's incursion into American films have not been as satisfactory as his work here.
In many ways Alfonso Cuaron's "Y Tu Mama Tambien" reminds me of the
desolation theme of Bernardo Bertolucci's "Ultimo tango a Parigi" (1972) and
the deceptive perspective of Michelangelo Antonioni's "L'Avventura." (1960).
Raging post-adolescent hormonal drives seem to propel Julio and Tenoch forward, with little else of substance to account for. Likewise, Luisa's motivation seems more despair- than romance-driven. Thus, the trio's trek in search of the idyllic Boca del Cielo is reminiscent of the forlorn lovers' quest for emotional fulfillment in the Bertolucci film.
Comparison with the Antonioni opus stems from Cuaron's script seemingly being about a carefree, liberated trio on a journey for fun, when in fact, it's really about escape from their own worst "enemies"--themselves.
After a particularly talky beginning (complete with abundant narrations) the film settles in on its main theme, and the dialogue becomes more pointed. While the camera work is generally appropriate, Cuaron tends to rely on long- to medium-shots, with nary a close-up.
The result of this is a somewhat distant enactment, in which the viewer is held a bit at arm's length from the action. One seldom gets close enough to become intimately acquainted with these people. In the end, one is touched by important revelations which are crucial to understanding that which has transpired. Yet, the viewer's emotional involvement is perhaps less than what it might have been, given closer perspectives.
This film obviously impressed many people, and I must agree the work by the principles is uniformly solid. This is a "last tango" which has made its mark as a distinctive film work.
After watching this movie, I looked at what a few critics had to say about it and I was shocked to see some of them refer to this movie as a "teen sex comedy". Wow, I didn't get that impression at all! Yes, the movie is infused with sex, and the two lead characters are horny teens, and there are quite a few comedic moments, but this is far from a teen sex comedy. It's treatment of the subject matter is real, for one thing, and backdrop of the Mexican countryside (and the director's detached observation's through third-person narration) bring some sobriety to the film. Be warned, though: there is a lot of sex, so not exactly a movie you're going to want to watch with the in-laws.
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