Here is a film that is intelligent, insightful, surprising, funny, and burningly sexy all in one; a film that’s frank realism and audacity are rarely found in American movies. Alfonso Cuaron’s “Y Tu Mam‡ TambiŽn” is a peculiar road movie exploring an intense male friendship between two teenagers, Tenoch (Diego Luna) and Julio (Gael Garc’a Bernal), in Mexico at the end of the reign of the ruling party.
The film opens with two extremely explicit scenes of the boys making love to their respective girlfriends, who are leaving for Europe for the summer. Their relationship shackles removed, our two randy protagonists are left to their own devices, and the lucky bastards achieve the ultimate male fantasy.
Tenoch and Julio meet a beautiful woman named Luisa (Maribel Verdœ) at a family wedding attended by Mexico’s president. The pair start flirting overtly with Luisa – who is Tenoch’s cousin’s wife – inviting her to go on a road trip to a secluded, fictional beach they name, Boca del Cielo (Heaven’s Mouth). To their surprise, a few days later she takes them up on the offer. Off they go, free of all constraints. The peace and lighthearted atmosphere of the trip is soon disturbed by desire – much to the detriment of the boys’ friendship.
The performance of all three actors is flawless and natural even in the most delicate scenes. Verdœ is excellent as the older, sexy, tender, liberated, yet somewhat childlike woman. The two boys are perfect in their roles of foolish, sex-starved, yet sensitive, teenagers. They make all the noise, but she is the one in control!
The boys portray different social worlds – different classes – where Tenoch is the son of a rich, corrupt politician while Julio represents the middle class in Mexican society. Nonetheless, the experiences of these two boys converge through their search for sexual maturity, which takes place before a backdrop of stunning countryside marked by colorful and authentic expressions of Mexican culture.
Cuaron, also co-writer of the film (with his brother Carlos), directed American movies such as “A Little Princess” and “Great Expectations.” With “Y Tu Mam‡ TambiŽn,” he returns to his roots and gives a great performance. Cuaron creates a film with a cinema-veritŽ look in which sex is treated graphically but intelligently as a natural part of life. I must thank you for that Mr. Cuaron – we could use a little more sex (always safe sex of course) and a lot less violence in our culture. This film is for everybody (except those excluded by the “Over 18” rating). Check out this movie, and learn what it is that makes you happy. It really is the simple things that are important in life.
The only hole in this film’s condom is the clumsy final twist Cuaron inserts to explain Luisa’s sexual voraciousness. It’s is unnecessary and heavy-handed – the film performs so superbly without superfluous melodramatic Viagra.