Y TU MAMÁ TAMBIÉN
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Cast: Maribel Verdú, Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna
MPAA Rating: (contains strong sexual content involving teens, drug use and language)
Running Time: 1:45
Release Date: 3/15/02
Review by Mark Dujsik
Y Tu Mamá También (“And Your Mom, Too”) surprises in the way that it starts off as a simplistic look at teenagers in an offbeat way and grows into a thoughtful character study as the situations and script become more and more formulaic. The beginning of the film is much like a typical teenage sex comedy—albeit one with a lot more graphic detail than anything Hollywood has put out—as two teenage boys spend a bored summer away from their girlfriends and look for whatever action may come their way, whether it be sex, drugs, alcohol, or swimming in the country club pool when no one’s around. Then it seems to become a sexual coming-of-age tale for the boys, who take an older woman on a road trip. It’s somewhere on the trip that the film opens up, and suddenly, it’s about so much more—things we never expected to show up when considering how the film starts off. Little character and situational details that have been presented before explode into conflicts and help establish some rather weighty developments that follow. By the end of the film, we essentially have the whole picture of these people and the society in which they live.
Zapata (Gael García Bernal) and Tenoch Iturbide (Diego Luna) are the two kids. Julio comes from a lower-middle class family, while Tenoch comes from a
well-off political family. Unlikely
friends, they seem connected solely by their interest in sex, drugs, and booze. So their girlfriends have left for
The rest of the film takes on the guise of a road trip picture, as the contrasting trio encounters a series of small adventures and enlightenments. Within a second after the film starts, it has already established that sex will be a major focus of the story. It contains a few graphic sex scenes, but they aren’t first and foremost about sex. The scenes are erotic but because they aren’t glamorized. The encounters are raw, clumsy, and, yes, even a little juvenile. The film is more about the results and consequences sex brings to a relationship and personality. The boys’ libidos guide them for the most part, but the film presents the darker, more truthful side of such pursuits: insecurity, mistrust, guilt, regret. In the opening scenes with their girlfriends, we get the sense that the film will study the psychology of sex instead of exploiting the act itself. Julio worries about his girlfriend’s trip to Italy, making her promise many times over that she will remain faithful. Immediately after the girls leave, though, Julio and Tenoch are looking for new partners.
That trait is the primary character development the film delves into until Julio, Tenoch, and Luisa head off on their trip. The inclusion of Luisa to the formula throws the boys’ equilibrium off-balance. Luisa is blunt with them. She understands their motives for asking her on the trip and even finds herself agreeing to go along with their fantasies, although it’s usually in a state of mental anguish. Luisa could have easily been the typical seductress that teaches the boys about the facts of life, giving them an experience solely comprised of fun, but instead, she’s a hurt, wounded woman with a lot of baggage to deal with—some of which is only hinted at but not revealed until the very end. More importantly, she sees through Julio and Tenoch’s façade of camaraderie. She’s what finally sets their relationship in a tailspin and, in turn, allows for us to see what they’re really made of. The boys’ relationship is heavily flawed from the start because of their class difference, and from there, it just worsens.
result is that these people grow on us tremendously. It’s all in the little
instance, Tenoch’s maid walks all the way from the kitchen (a rather long walk
in their house) just to answer the phone for him. Later, he ironically calls Julio lazy for sleeping
late. The film also employs a third-person narration to flesh out the details
we don’t get within the action and dialogue—or the things that the
characters cover up through action and dialogue. At first, the gimmick is annoying, but it turns out to be indispensable
as much of what’s important about the characters and their lives is never
spoken. The details extend beyond
the characters and into the backdrop as director Alfonso Cuarón takes time to
establish the economic and social problems of
Copyright © 2002 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.
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