Y Tu Mamá También (2001) Poster

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fascinating filmmaking
Roland E. Zwick6 April 2002
`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?
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Funny... but above all, a really intelligent motion picture
mdopooh25 July 2001
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 conversations.

"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.
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9/10
Sexually explicit and hilarious, yet at the same time very compelling
mattymatt4ever28 April 2003
I read an article about this movie and some have referred to this movie as a Mexican version of "American Pie." I believe the joke was that it should be 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 put 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)
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10/10
Three for the road...
jotix1004 April 2002
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 product.

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.
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10/10
Simply The Best!
cheriberry18 January 2004
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 was about.

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.
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10/10
A comment on economics and sexuality
ebritton-15 May 2005
Warning: 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.
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Last Tango in Mexico
harry-7617 April 2002
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.
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Before you read any further I would like to strongly suggest that you go see this film.
Before you read any further I would like to strongly suggest that you go see this film. Do not read my review and just go see it. Find out where it's playing and buy yourself a ticket, in fact bring as many of your friends as you can, such as I did, and I promise you will all somehow have enjoyed it in a way films are rarely enjoyed. I do not feel that I will be able to describe exactly what I felt having seen this film, but if you would like to see my effort then read on.

This is the story of 2 teenagers, Tenoch and Julio, best friends their whole lives, which have indulged in many of life's guilty pleasures. We meet them at a point when their respective present girlfriends are leaving to study in Italy, leaving the 2 friends on their own for the summer. In the short time after their departure we see a whole new side of the boys. They masturbate to the thought of Salma Hayek, smoke weed, drink hard, and flirt with another man's wife. She is a beautiful older woman named Luisa at a wedding, who in turn is Tenoch's cousin's wife. They flirt with her and invite her to come with them to the fictional beach Heaven's Mouth. She is of course reluctant, but takes them up on the offer after her husband one night calls her to confess he cheated on her. This is the beginning of the road trip to the non-existent beach that will change their lives.

An unidentified man narrates the entire film, and when he speaks all goes silent in the scenes serving as a moving freeze frame if you will. He speaks the future of the lives we are watching these people interact with, and ultimately you begin to worry what will be of there own future. During this road trip to the fictional beach, all 3 main characters meet new and interesting people in new and interesting parts of Mexico. It makes them ponder life as their own past experiences begin to unravel in their intimate and personal conversations. Not before long the compounded sexual tension between them is in a way relieved, but to mixed consequences. All of the subtle characteristics of jealousy, anger, passion, naivety, become completely real.

These characters are so believably acted, that when you see these actors in interviews or in other films you'll almost feel cheated. Relationships like this simply don't seem like they can be cheated; yet through some form of skill and humanity every element comes together just right, never distracting or deterring you from the story.

Featured are some of the best-shot sex scenes ever (as one of my friends pointed out as a matter of fact). `Y tu Mama Tambien' finds a way of making all of it's moments feel intimate and genuine, yet never in bad taste. Alfonso Cuaron makes it difficult for us to believe what we are seeing at times is only movie, which serves this tale all the more. The shaky `Road Film Style' cinematography used here is perfect in capturing this uncommon, and unbalanced relationship. You are kept on your toes at all times, expecting something or someone to break. The dialogue is fresh and funny, the kind you just know cannot be faked, that in fact somewhere somehow the writer or actors uttered those phrases. I am convinced that a great majority of this film was improvised, whatever the case may be.

This film is obviously more than flesh, more than experimenting youth. Take some of your favorite moments from mediocre mainstream movies like `American Pie 1 and 2' and remove all the slapstick value. You will realize that there is much more there than you ever saw before. That is what I think in small part this film strives to achieve. It succeeds. We can sympathize with theses characters every step of the way, because as we first get to know them you realize that they either are like you, someone you know, knew, or maybe someone you always wished you could be. By the time things begin to happen to these characters you yourself begin to feel part of their journey.

This is an experience many of you won't take part in, and that is the sincere shame. Instead a great majority of people have been walking out of `The Scorpion King' unchallenged and un-entertained. `Y Tu Mama Tambien' offers a true form of escape, one that no blockbuster will dare. It's the lives few of us will ever live, for better or worse. What transcends from the screen to your hearts and minds is as eye opening as anything you'll ever see, and as effecting, if not more, as your own personal life experience. Bold words? Go see it and you tell me.

Note: Please feel free to contact me and share your thoughts on this film or on my review of it.
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A Mexican masterpiece that's full of youth, ribald sex, politics, economics, and death.
Chris Knipp24 July 2002
Warning: Spoilers
(Spoilers)

Alfonso Cuarón's `Y Tu Mamá También' is an instant classic that's bursting with sexy fun, but this Mexican movie about two oversexed boys on the road with a beautiful and sad older woman is haunted by tragedy and history – film history as well as the political and economic kind. It's amazing how Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna, as Julio and Tenoch, work off each other: they have a hysterical time, laughing and laughing. I couldn't help wondering if when they shot some of these scenes they themselves may have been high on some of the superior grade `sticky' mota their characters love and praise so much. These frisky pups, so eager for sex, so incompetent and over-hasty when they get the chance, having such a wonderful time with the sexy Spanish lady with the impressive tits, are very real, but quite symbolic: the Mexican upper class and the lower middle class, inseparable and cautiously in love with each other, going to bed with Spain to acquire some sophistication; but wait! -- Spain, Spain is dying, while Mexico, as Luisa (the assured, somber Maribel Verdú) tells the boys, `breathes with life.' It's all haunted by mortality and pursued by corruption, and their summer is the end of an era for them. Back in Mexico City, their sexual tutor is gone and they are no longer friends; it's over, la commedia è finita. Julio and Tenoch have no choice but to act out their social destinies separately, as history decrees.

Alfonso Cuarón and his brother Carlos have produced a movie that is as sophisticated and multi-layered as it is entertaining. If last year's Mexican hit, `Amores Perros,' was a homage (structurally, anyway) to Quentin Tarentino's `Pulp Fiction,' this one is a homage to the French Nouvelle Vague and most specifically to Truffaut's `Jules et Jim,' itself the tale of two different kinds of young men, bosom buddies both, more than a little in love with each other, unified and separated by their far more sophisticated lady love, embodied by the sublime and unforgettable Jeanne Moreau. The voiceovers in `Y Tu Mamá' mimic the same device so often used in many New Wave movies, particularly in `Jules et Jim,' and as in Truffaut's film they are a constant reminder of the fact that this is just a moment in time, that it all ends, and in Cuarón's version, the narrator talks about death, degeneration, road kill, disease, all kinds of disasters that happen around and before and after the events of the charming and ribald little story of Julio, Tenoch, and Luisa. The action freezes during these voiceovers to emphasize the momentary nature of the story and to break the jaunty rhythm with the introduction of an awareness of politics, mortality, and history. This goes well beyond the Nouvelle Vague model and as one writer has put it is as if the `American Pie' DVD had a director's commentary by Susan Sontag or G.K. Galbraith. Sure, this movie is hilariously sexy and ebullient. But there's a whole lot going on here. The Mexican obsession with death is strong in `Y Tu Mamá': the combination of death and vibrant sexuality and love of life is a rich dish for a gringo palate. But this isn't just spicy food: it's a brilliantly constructed movie that works on many levels.

`Y Tu Mamá También' moves with an energetic and liquid flow from the first. This is very assured, almost blessèd, filmmaking. Scene follows scene with imperceptible grace, never held too long, never cut short. The visual rhythm is perfectly sustained. There aren't any wrong notes. The whole cast are constantly alive and right. Bernal and Luna just seem made to act in this film. (Bernal's beauty and his gifts are indicated by his presence in both this and `Amores Perros,' and his receiving Mexico's highest film acting prize.) Cuarón works with a rich palate: his cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki, always has a lot going on in the frame. In a road house the camera just wanders off and catches local people, an old lady stiffly dancing to a radio. Mexico is constantly present without being commented upon (the voiceover doesn't belabor the images but augments them; the boys drive by many police roadblocks, oblivious of the repression). The landscapes are subtly beautiful, never conventional. (There's so much going on that I couldn't think of writing about the movie till I'd seen it twice.) But none of the peripheral action and scenery that make the palate of the movie so rich ever distract from the story. All focus is on the story and its irresistible momentum in every single frame, so it's only afterward that you realize the full complexity of `Y Tu Mamá' and the beauty of its imagery. For me images that remain are a short tracking shot that goes over to the window of Luisa's flat and looks down to see her meet Julio and Tenoch and get into the car to go on their journey to the mythical beach; the country club pool, with its wide expanse, and the ranks of elegant modernistic lounge chairs behind a stream of water spraying the perfect lawn; the rich leathery tan of an old lady's face, momentarily glimpsed with a patch of red flower; a lovely shot in a bar, worthy of Cartier-Bresson, showing Luisa phoning her husband through a little window, while in an identical window we see reflected Julio and Tenoch playing a game of hand soccer; the pigs scattering across the beach at dusk and ruining the boys' encampment. Why some critics have called this movie lightweight (or even bothered to drag out the phrase `road movie') I can't imagine; I guess they overlooked the burden of sad knowledge (and the cinematic genius) amid so much happy fun.
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9/10
This one is for keeps
marcosaguado13 March 2004
What a funny, sexy, sad, wonderful movie. Gael Garcia Bernal is destined for greatness. I was totally overwhelmed by the sexual tension between the characters. It is also a subtle, yet brutal, comment on Latin culture as far as sex is concerned. The reaction of the two boys after realizing they have made love is purely Latin fear. In another part of the world, that night of love could have been the new beginning of a wonderful friendship. Cuaròn, the director, redeems himself here, after the embarrassing "Great Expectations"
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7/10
This is far from a teen sex comedy
ghonzo6 February 2004
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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Fantastically good fun to watch!
sev_leclair8 October 2004
I saw the film twice in 2 days (in original version), and I enjoyed it very much. It is titillating, at times hilarious, touching, candid, serious etc... Roller-coaster of emotions! It is the first film I have seen with Gael Garcia Bernal (Julio in this film), and boy is he great! I love the portrait the film draws of "Teenage Boys lust". The contrast with the mature and controlled Luisa is very interesting. Altogether, I'd recommend it warmly to anyone who enjoys road movies in general and great characters. Obviously it is better in the original, so if you understand a bit of Spanish, don't be put off by the subtitles (you end up reading them really quickly and still enjoy the images...).
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10/10
Dazzlingly Authentic
Contra-210 September 2006
The "Coming of Age" genre is so well worn, that when a movie like Y Tu Mama Tambien comes along, the frank authenticity can be jarring. Although the plot doesn't steer far away from convention, at each point the viewer's anticipation is deftly sidestepped, and the scene is injected with a dose of raw emotion that has little to do with Drama, and everything to do with reality. It is so refreshing to see characters behave in a way that resembles personal memory, if not actual experience.

The guys are by often banal, bratty and obnoxious – in other words, quite normal teenagers – but not without their charm. They float along in their privileged bubble, largely oblivious to the social tensions wracking their country, except for facile quips like "left-wing babes are totally hot". They have a lot to learn, and their trip with Luisa is a catalyst to confronting their adolescent fantasies and indolence with a dose of reflection.

As for the much talked about sexy bits, they are funny, erotic, and utterly non-pornographic. What a pity that such a candid portrayal of sexuality seems to be nearly impossible in American film.

Highly recommended.
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10/10
A fabulous story and a guaranteed good movie
Kyguy92213 January 2003
WARNING- This is a review which I will reveal the story

Living life to the fullest can make life balanced as revealed through the characters in Alfonso Cuaron's Mexican motion picture Y Tu Mama Tambien. When looking at the movie cover and movie rating, perhaps the film seems like the Mexican version of a mix between Road Trip and American Pie, but after watching the film, deep life lessons can be found in the background of the picture. After being enthralled with the message and theme of this movie, I was excited to test Linda Seger's theory, `Creating the Myth'. I knew that most mainstream Hollywood movies would follow this theory, but was interested to see if this theory transcended both language and culture in this independent film. After the completion of Y Tu Mama Tambien an additional time, I was surprised to find that Linda Seger's `Healing Myth' theory truly explains the components Alfonso Cuaron's masterpiece. Before delving into the specific nature of the theory, describing the colloquialism of the movie helps explain the movie's cultural phenomenon. The audience is introduced in Spanish with subtitles to two Mexican teenagers, Tenoch and Julio, who are seemingly free for the summer after their girlfriends leave for a European vacation. Despite having to read subtitles the movie is easy to understand by the characters lively expressions and acting ability. Julio and Tenoch stumble across a beautiful woman, Luisa, who happens to be the wife of a distant cousin. They lightheartedly invite her to go to a beach, really joking about it. After Luisa finds out her husband has cheated on him, she agrees to go out on a road trip to a beach named Heaven's Mouth. On this journey, she seduces the teenagers and has sex with both of them. The sexuality of the film is realistic, which in no way is pornographic or crude, but rather honest and respectful. In their journey to the beach, many scenes of the reality and blight of rural Mexican life can be seen through the windows of the old Volkswagen. People being searched at checkpoints, drug busts, deadly traffic accidents, and poor villagers walking the streets, all give the film an underlying message reminding that many people are left behind in rich economies, penniless and hopeless. Once reaching the beach, they are in paradise and relax and live in the beauty of nature. As the teenagers have to go home, Luisa decides to stay at the beach. The ending shocks the audience with a surprising twist. It is revealed that Luisa knew she had had cancer and soon died after the guys left. Much meaning is added to the movie after this realization is made and Luisa's character takes on a true mold of the healing myth. Seger's theory begins by stating, `All of us have similar experiences' (Seger 161). This theory therefore not only applies to American films, but all people in all cultures. This is evident in seeing the two seventeen year old Mexican teenagers in this film. The emotions, growing up, searching for oneself; all humans can relate to this. Although the film does not fit the popular mold of the Hero Myth, it fits the Healing Myth mold almost perfectly. The one-line description of this myth is `some character is 'broken' and must leave home to become whole again' (Seger 165). Luisa, the attractive female is this broken person, who flees home for two main reasons. The reason the audience is led to believe for most the film is because of her husband's affairs, she has left the life in Mexico to get away from her problems. What the audience does not realize during the duration of the flick, is that Luisa is actually diagnosed with cancer, and is terminally ill. Her need for rejuvenation and balance takes her to Heaven's Mouth and allows her to become whole again. She does this by simply living a life which is meaningful and seeking the truth. In telling colorful stories of old times and sucking the marrow out of all interactions, this allows her to become whole and ready to die. In realizing her frailty and death, she realizes the importance to live up to the ideal of `living life to the fullest'. As Seger's theory gets more specific, it discusses the many ways the character can be broken. Whether spiritual, physical, emotional, or even sexual, the journey which the character goes must heal the broken aspect of them. Luisa is broken on many levels. The one that is apparent to the audience is the sexual and emotional brokeness. She cries her self to sleep after she hears her husband has cheated on her and sexually misses his love and presence. This is the `outer wound' in a sense that the audience can see it. Just as the theory states, this outer wound forces Luisa into exile, which begins her process of transformation. Seger discusses the `inner wound' as something that the character does not know about. This is a different variation in the theory because in fact Luisa knows that she is suffering from cancer. The interesting twist is that the audience is the one who does not know about this wound and is hidden until the film's conclusion. Although this shows a difference from the theory and the film, it does not disprove the theory. It is merely a trapping which is a product of the culture. As Seger states, `The trappings may be different, the twist and turns that create suspense might change from culture to culture,...but underneath it all, its the same story' (Seger 161). In noting this variation the audience can fully appreciate the beauty of the film's writing. Although her cancer is a physical ailment, this brokeness is also inner due to the place she keeps it. Luisa does not let cancer slow her down but rather she lifts herself to live life to the fullest. This transformation of the way she lives her life can inspire all people to break out of their shell and live everyday as if it were their last. The archetype present in the film also adds to the cultural phenomenon and proves Seger's theory in yet another way. The archetypes, usually found in hero myths, are commonly present characters. Y Tu Mama Tambien does not have the typical archetype, in that it is not a character, but rather the narrator's voice who fits the archetype. This archetype is the wise old man who provides the audience with special knowledge. This part is essential to the success of the film. The narrator has an older, deep, calm, and soothing voice which gives the impression he is wise and intelligent. The narrator's voice fills in all the gaps of the movie which are not said by the characters, which allows him to serve as the wise man for the audience. One example which summarizes the narrator's purpose happens during the long car trip. Suddenly the noise of the movie becomes silent for two seconds and the narrator's voice calmly comes in. The voice explains that the village they were passing was the village which Tenoch's nanny was born in. His nanny was forced to leave the village alone at the age of thirteen to look for work because of the desperate poverty she was experiencing. This really contrasts the two worlds present in Mexico, the rich upper class, and the marginalized poor. Throughout the film the narrator's voice provides similar comments which opens the viewer to an entirely new insight of the often painful Mexican life. The narrator even reveals the secret of Luisa's cancer in the end. He then tells of the way she continued on with her life as balanced and full of energy. The narrator captures the essence of the film in his wise old man archetype which he beautifully fulfills. Balance in life is something that all people want, but do not necessarily seek out actively until it is too late. Luckily for Luisa she balanced her life by simply taking a trip with two guys to a beach. In this journey she learned life lessons of friendship, humor, compassion, pain and joy. The movie has certain differences from the exact mold of the Healing Myth, but those minute differences do not affect the overall theory. Rather they add to the uniqueness and power of the movie. In closely following Seger's `Healing Myth', Luisa truly has been healed, maybe not from cancer, but healed from all worry and fear of the painful world, and she enjoys life as a blessing.
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9/10
Another prime example of film-making from Mexico
MisterWhiplash5 April 2002
Alfonso Cuaron's Y Tu Mama Bien is one of the better films of the year (not quite best, but still highly recommendable). Cuaron, who scripted with his brother Carlos, tells a story with such a level of stark and touching realism that the audience will not only feel for the three main characters, but will feel like their along the ride with them. In this story, Tenoch and Julio are two friends whose girlfriends go away to Italy for a little while and are left with not much to do (outside of partying and masturbation) until they get an idea to go to a secluded beach called Heaven's Mouth and ask the married and 10 years older Luisa to come along. She agrees after discovering her husband cheated on her more than she could stand and this takes the movie onto a road trip with dialog and actions that, despite having the be read on the bottom of the screen in subtitle format, is much better than most teen movies that go for sex related dialog (however, Cuaron had to go back to Mexico to make this type of movie so that the MPAA wouldn't s*** on it and make him re-edit it to a NC-17) and action.

The only flaws keeping Cuaron's latest work from being a great coming of age tale is that the narration, while keeping in some good insight along the way, becomes heavy handed at times and gives information that is either humorist news along the area the characters are traveling or about the characters themselves which isn't a bad thing until it digs into things that don't have much relevance to the rest of the picture or even to the characters when you think about what is really up on the screen. Plus, the very last scene is too conventional to be placed as where the film leads up to (he should've ended it when Luisa goes into the ocean the last time).

But still, these squabbles shouldn't stop people from seeing this movie, overall it delivers splendidly in it's uninhibited and mature ways. Props also go to the performances by the three leads and to the cinematography.
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9/10
interpretation of the pool, the beach, the pigs...
Bror G18 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I think this is an excellent movie which works on many levels. Of course, the photography is brilliant and the use of perspectives is great!

But what I want to write about are the parallels between some events in the movie and the inner plot.

1. The 2 friends are swimming/diving together, somehow as a symbol of their friendship. But the second time, the pool is filled with leaves - which are a symbol of decline and thats the moment when Julio confesses that he had slept with Tenoch's girlfriend. That's when it gets complicated.

2. Then they are stuck - with their friendship and with the car. But that is the moment when they find the perfect beach. And that's the moment when their friendship reaches its climax - they confess everything to each other, but they are cool with it. Their friendship seems more important than ephemeral things like lust, sex or their teenage girlfriends. But the idyll of the beach is disturbed by the pigs that smut everything. And the pigs are like lust and sex - that's what destroys the relationship again and this moment. The pigs are wild and dirt everything, like the final sex scene with Luisa and the 2 boys.

3. The more wild nature gets, the more wild is their experience. But back in the civilization of the city, they cant go on with that. The city represents their socialization and the society's rules (which doesn't really allow the kiss of the boys). Its way beyond their comfort zone.

4. The beach is also a parallel to Tenoch. He wants to be a writer; free and on his own - but ends up studying economics. And the beach ends up as a touristy place - probably without its natural beauty.

I don't know if you agree with my attempt to interpret the movie on a deeper level; but to me, the picture works perfect on so many levels.

It's a very inspiring movie - dramatic and yet funny, offensive and yet subtle and witty.
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1/10
A letdown
Pro Jury21 March 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Cheech & Chong meet Beavis & Butthead meet ARTHUR.

Two extremely immature obnoxious losers, a real-life Mexican Beavis & Butthead, display an exceptional variety of crude behaviors. Lots of 4-letter words. Nearly every line of dialog in the movie seems meant to shock the audience -- robotically.

What could have been an excellent comedic setup for capturing the fun of horrified normal people coming in contact with the abrasive antics of the two teen shock jocks-without-a-microphone, never comes to be. The two boys, along with an older lady soul mate, become self-encapsulated inside a long road trip.

Most of this movie is framed in long or medium shots. Even if a viewer had a strong desire to bond with one of the characters, the distant camera framing prevents the audience from identifying with anyone.

Lots of mindless vulgar antics. A long predictable stretch towards the end has all of the main characters in a silly drunken stupor. The older lady, with a body all men lust over, is supposedly only four weeks away from dying of metastasized cancer -- totally unbelievable!

The sex and nudity are remarkable for an R-rated movie, but it is not hot enough to recommend the movie.
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Chlorinated Onanisms
tedg11 November 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

Films in the US, India and Hong Kong have a happy freedom in that they can exist in a world context. All other films carry the burden of nationality, and it is a heavy burden indeed. That's because films define society and `national' films attract undue expectations to define what it means to be French, or whatever. It is burden enough when the country has a healthy economy, a long history with film, and political stability. But when the country lacks any of these, each marginally competent film gets blown up to mythic proportions.

So it was within a whirlwind of expectations that I viewed this as a non-Mexican North American. My own experience with Spanish-speaking literature and film is relatively slight, but from `Quixote,' through Borges, hispanics have led us all in intelligent self-reference. In the last few decades, this has merged with post-modern fabulism or `magical reality' to produce some similarly great art.

But there is a backlash from the street, which promotes the frank, impulsive sexuality of hispanics. And so we have Spanish films that are about sensual caprice. And people flock to them for self-definition. I recently saw a most amazing film: `Lucía y el sexo,' which to my mind was a superb blend of the two: Spanish self-aware abstraction folded into a selfserving passion for sex as life. Both literary and cinematic.

Now along comes this film, that doesn't make any such synthesis. It in fact sticks entirely to the `passion-for-life' side, goobered up with some political commentary and wrapped in a traditional `dying girl' wrapper. That this is deliberate can be seen in the girl leaving her writer husband, whose friends talk about intellectual things she doesn't think important. Its pleasant enough, especially the dialog, and I didn't mind watching it. But knowing that millions of Mexicans adjust their sense of self using this template is somewhat tragic.

So let's emphasize what element remains of interest: the narrative structure. There are three narrative stances here: the one within the story, centered on the boys; the `underwater' one (presumably the placeholder for what would be the folding in a better film and presaging some new awareness in the story); and the spoken narrator. These are separated by very clever sound editing and constitute the best element of the film. All the folding is done here: for instance, one road is blocked by a traffic death and later on a different road the narrator informs us that if they had been on that road tens years prior they would have seen an accident with similar social context.

If you work hard, this spoken narration is sometimes clever but all in all you'd be far better off watching `Lucía y el sexo,' and celebrating hispanic passion: both sensual and intellectual.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 4: Has some interesting elements.
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8/10
beautiful
flobbergobber17 October 2006
a little Mexican treat - like a less sentimental 'stand by me', but with a real human twist. really top film and very watchable.

the 3 lead characters had incredible presence on the screen. the relationship between both boys and between each boy and the woamn meant there was always a twist in store at every turn.

i don't think i'd be alone in stating how much a film like this would have an effect on teenage boys - i would describe it as a more grown-up, less sentimental version of stand by me.

the locations used absolutely suited the mood of the film. Mexican cinema should be in a buoyant mood after this film.

http://lotsofpopcorn.blogspot.com/
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5/10
Mediocre sex-on-the-road drama whose only plus is being set in Mexico.
Peter Hayes25 March 2004
A couple of streetwise, and slightly loutish, teenagers drive an older - but not much wiser - Spanish woman to the beach, but have all kinds of small adventures on the way.

Who would have thought that this semi-professional slap-dash time filler would be so well regarded by the IMDB audience? While I loved the Mexican backdrop spending time with two teenagers who are hardly smarter than Beavis and Butthead seemed to me quite a drag. Yes, well observed, but what are we getting here? People that have nothing to say and are saying it!

The road movie has only so many cliches to them and this obeys most of them. They all have to have a scene where one person argues with another and they get and walk. Then the driver drives alongside and begs the other person to get back in. Do you think this doesn't happen here? And there are two boys and one girl - do you think there isn't going to be tears and jealousy before (and after) bedtime? This should be called road movie by numbers!

There are some lovely rolling scenes (with nice music) and just as you are getting to enjoy it we get in to another "my dick is bigger than your dick" style shouting match. On the roadside people seem to be being hassled by law and order or living improvised lives, but the film doesn't seem to careless. They drive on by. Depth? There isn't any.

The problem with sex is that I am not shocked by it. Sex doesn't have to be sexy, indeed sex when viewed abstractly from medium distance looks quite funny. I don't know why a woman in her late twenties/early thirties (I am presuming here based on the age of the actress) would want to hang with these clowns. For sex? When did an attractive woman ever have to go short of casual sex. In real life clever men hang out with stupid women - you never see it the other way round!

This is the kind of film the French have be doing for years, only much better. Just off the top of my head Pauline at the Beach and Betty Blue are miles better films, so why are they rated lower than this? Maybe this got good word of mouth and the people that saw it, loved it? And the people that wouldn't like it were kept away or turned off after five minutes. One of the top hundred films ever made - what a complete and utter joke!
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1/10
Great film for sexually-repressed idiots
fwmurnau23 May 2004
So eager are some viewers to feel sophisticated and unshockable, they'll acclaim any pointless mess with nudity as a masterpiece.

The story: two teenage boys get stoned and talk boringly about sex. (Sample insight: they agree that masturbation feels good.) A woman joins them, adding nothing to the mix. After two hours it ends. There is no story, no characterization, no relationships, not even a hint of writing or directing talent.

It's not the actors' fault. They dutifully disrobe, simulate intercourse, and they look okay naked. But there is less meaning here than there is in the average porn vid.

I guess some of these rave reviews are from kids who are excited to see nudity and hear dirty talk. I direct these children to their older brothers' socks drawer, where they'll find more intelligent handling of sexual and gender issues in any 4-Hour XXX video.

Though the cast is attractive, even the sex scenes boring. There is not an interesting or original thought, shot, or line of dialogue in the whole film.

The idea that this movie has anything to say about politics or "sex roles" or "coming of age" is ludicrous. The morons who compare this movie to masterpieces by Truffaut, Fellini, or Almodovar should be shot for sacrilege. It takes more than two actors and an actress on screen to make JULES ET JIM.

To repeat: ALL THAT HAPPENS in this movie is two boys and one woman ride in a car, get naked, sit around on the beach, have sex, and read page after page of pointless, clichéd dialogue. These aren't characters, they're voids with names.

The filmmakers haven't the talent to even begin to suggest characterization or plot development. The "political" side, which some posters find so intriguing, amounts to the narrator telling us, near the end, that the PRI lost an election -- which has no connection to anything said or done by the characters. Faux meaning doesn't get any more faux than this.

It would have been easy to append a phony political point to the film, maybe by having the leads murdered by the oppressed masses -- giving the film at least an illusion of meaning -- but the filmmakers aren't smart enough to figure this out.

I've seen many films I've disliked, even hated, but there was always SOME talent involved in their making. This one provokes nothing -- no emotion, no thought, no reaction of any kind. It's like staring at a blank wall for two hours.

I recommend Y Tu Mama Tambien to very horny, very stupid teenagers and to anyone curious to see what happens when people with absolutely no talent and absolutely nothing to say get their hands on a movie camera.
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5/10
Dares to tell the truth about sex and sexuality
Libretio6 June 2005
AND YOUR MOTHER TOO (Y Tu Mamá También)

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Sound format: Dolby Digital

Two inseparable friends (Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna) fall hopelessly in lust with Luna's sister-in-law (Maribel Verdú), a beautiful young newlywed who's just discovered that her no-good husband is sleeping around. Hoping to escape her troubles, she agrees to accompany the boys on an extended road trip, during which their lives are changed forever.

Opening with two simulated (but incredibly realistic) sex scenes, Alfonso Cuarón's ambitious Mexican road movie has more on its mind than mere titillation (AMERICAN PIE this ain't!). Immensely popular on its home turf, particularly amongst hormonally-charged teenagers, the film embroiders its commercial aspects with a political awareness that acts as social commentary: The narrative unfolds amidst the decline of the much-hated Institutional Revolutionary Party which governed the country until July 2000, and the three principal characters travel through a landscape scarred by poverty, yet enriched by its heritage and traditions.

Verdú offers her sexual favors freely to the boys (for reasons which only become clear toward the end of the film), but her actions have unforeseen consequences which threaten to tear the two old friends apart. When confronted with the evidence of various infidelities, their anger - sparked by jealousy - hints at a twist in the tale which must have come as a terrific shock to its target audience (I'll say no more)! This is a movie which dares to tell the truth about sex and sexuality, not merely to provoke viewers (though the nudity is both generous and cheerful, and the beautiful García Bernal has since become something of a gay icon and poster boy) but also to illuminate the motives which underpin the characters and their fragile relationship. Quite an achievement.

(Spanish dialogue)
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5/10
Half a good movie
preppy-38 April 2002
Two 17 year olds Tenoch (Diego Luna) and Julio (Gael Garcia Bernal) meet a 28 year old married woman Luisa (Maribel Verdu) at a wedding. They convince her to go on a road trip with them to a nonexistent beach. Basically they both want to sleep with her. But things get WAY out of hand.

I hated the first half of this movie--Tenoch and Julio are ugly and obnoxious, screaming at each other constantly and really dumb...but then they ARE 17. Luisa is much more likable. I was ready to leave but halfway through the film something happens (I won't say what) and the film switches gears. Then I started to enjoy it. It got very funny, interesting and there is some beautiful scenery. It all leads up to an unexpected and somewhat downbeat ending.

There is a lot of nudity--most of it male and frontal--and plenty of sex, but almost none of it is particularly exciting. However there is a final sex scene which is erotic and exciting.

So, it's half a good film. Don't go see it for the sex or nudity--you'll be disappointed.
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