Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001)

Directed by Alfonso Cuaron
Written by Alfonso & Carlos Cuaron

Alfonso Cuaron is a director that has been relatively quiet of late. Apart from a couple minor projects, his last feature film as a director was Children of Men in 2006, a great one. Before that was the third Harry Potter film, The Prisoner of Azkaban, which some say is the best in the series because of its great vision and direction by Cuaron. Those two works are the only two of which I am familiar in Cuaron’s filmography. So that brings me to Y Tu Mama Tambien, which is a film with quite a reputation. For many it is a great film, but it also has the reputation of being a pretty erotic tale as well, which seems strange coming from the man who directed a Harry Potter film, but perhaps that just goes to show Cuaron’s range as a filmmaker. Even one of my good friend’s attempted to watch it because it is so highly regarded, yet he didn’t get very far, describing it as pretty much a porno.

Certainly there is a lot of sexuality and nudity, especially right off the bat which I could see turning my friend of so quickly, but I will speak more on this later. Suffice it to say, this is not a porno at all. It is the highly sexual tale of two friends, Tenoch (Diego Luna) and Julio (Gael Garcia Bernal). These two young men are just that, young men. They are vulgar, sexual, and don’t quite have their heads on right quite yet. So when their girlfriends fly away for a trip to Italy, and they meet Luisa (Maribel Verdu), the pretty wife of a relative, the three embark on a road trip to a secluded beach called “Heaven’s Mouth,” which none of them have ever been to, even if the boys claim to have been. But as with everything, it is the journey and not the destination as the three get to know each other perhaps a little more than they wanted to.

The “road trip” tale is a great way to get to know characters, especially when they are as interesting as these three. Each has their skeletons in the closest, though I will not reveal those here, and each has something to offer the other. Tenoch and Julio are best friends, but they don’t know everything about each other, and Luisa is basically a complete stranger. All three actors deliver stellar performances and I love watching Bernal and Luna is pretty much anything. The camera of Cuaron seems born to capture this story too. It creates a very raw, real effective on a story that is both.

Now to comment on the sexuality of the film, I will say this: I think there could have been less, but a lot of it was necessary in building the characters and the story that was being told. Luisa is fed up with the immaturity of men and infidelity. Meanwhile Tenoch and Julio are sex crazed young males, who take pride in their “conquests”, though it is apparent they are few. When these three come together they each learn something, and with the ending scene (which is practically perfect by the way) I learned something as well.

It all reminded me a little bit of the Los Lobos song “Don’t Worry Baby.” A lyric in the song is as follows: “Life is a fly/And then you die.” I can’t begin to pretend I know anything about sex or relationships, especially comparative to Luisa or even Tenoch and Julio. I also cannot begin to pretend to know anything about life and how the universe and fate and destiny, and whatever other stuff you want to throw in there, works. But there is a mild sense of reassurance in the fact that neither does Luisa, Tenoch, Julio, or anyone for that matter. That is, if reassurance can be found in that realization.

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