Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Y Tu Mama Tambien (And Your Mama, Too) (2001) ****

I recall seeing this back when it came out and won awards. I loved it then, and even more now. It’s just a tremendously good, sexy story. Good, because it has a lot to say about humans and how we are. Sexy, because, well, it has tons of nudity and sex.

Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal play Tenoch and Julio, a couple of Mexico City teenagers freshly graduated from high school. With their girlfriends traveling in Europe for the summer, the guys are left to chase tail and smoke weed. Then they meet Luisa (Maribel Verdu, from “Pan‘s Labyrinth“), the sexy, Spanish wife of Tenoch’s cousin. While the boys are squandering their summer and living easy, Luisa is having a rough time. First she gets some bad news from her doctor, then her husband confesses his infidelity. With all of this weighing her down, Luisa decides to take the boys up on their offer of a trip to a secret, secluded beach. The boys don’t actually know how to get to any such beach. Their offer was just a lame pass at an older woman. That doesn’t really matter to Luisa, however. For the callow youths, the road trip is a lark, with sexy possibilities, but for Luisa it represents leaving everything behind and getting the most out of the time she has left. Being around the boys’ puppyish exuberance distracts her from the things she has to grieve over.

Besides wonderfully convincing performances from the principal cast, the film makes good use of narration to add perspective to some of the scenes and hint at the inner world of the characters, who don’t spend a lot of time sharing their feelings with each other. The narrator also fills in interesting points about the world our travelers are passing through. In one such segment, the trio passes a pair of crosses on the side of the highway, and the narrator explains how a fatal accident occurred there a year prior. The characters don’t even comment or pay attention to the crosses, any more than most of us do when we pass these little monuments. It’s a reminder of the theme of the film, which is that we are all bit players in someone else’s tragedy.

“Y Tu Mama, Tambien” won multiple awards, and deservedly so. Eleven years later it’s still an outstanding film. If you can handle a movie with sex, nudity, and subtitles, then I highly recommend it. (Available on Netflix streaming video.)

4 stars out of 5

No comments: