Y Tu Mama Tambien opens with full-frontal nudity proving it’s going to be one of those movies you will remember. You can watch it as a vivacious summer comedy with a highly sexually-charged atmosphere. Or you can watch it as not just a superb character study but a very thought-provoking life study. I watched it last night and although it was quite late, I had to play another movie after it. I simply couldn’t get it out of my head. This is a bittersweet dramedy similar to another summer movie full of explicit erotic scenes, Greek Suntan.
Both of these movies offer a slice of life we have not seen before. This means that you won’t see a lot of cactuses, cartels, or crime in Y Tu Mama Tambien although it takes place in Mexico. You also won’t see the infamous Mexican filter, you know the one I’m talking about, the one where they crank up the sepia values through the roof. What you will see is how life goes on for an average Mexican. And this is the first thing that irked me a bit as the story follows two teenagers, one upper and one middle class. However, in order to properly tell the story, you have to make certain sacrifices.
And Alfonso Cuaron knows how to tell a story. The camera work is stellar with a lot of medium and long scenes immersing further into the movie. So, Y Tu Mama Tambien is a movie about two horny teenagers traveling to a hidden beach with a sexy and mature woman in crisis. Now, as soon as you read the word beach, I bet another movie popped into your head. Danny Boyle’s The Beach has the same vibes but it’s a bit too shallow compared to this one. And when it comes to those hedonistic tendencies, we have to mention Kids.
Julio and Tenoch just said goodbye to their girlfriends at the airport as they were traveling to Italy. Now, the world is their oyster and they already have a couple of things in mind. All the things that teenagers love doing, getting high, drinking beer, and having sex. They meet Luisa, an older woman, and start pestering her to go with them to this hidden beach. She initially declines but then suddenly accepts their offer. And so they set forth on an adventure of their lifetime.
As an almost forty-year-old man, I had very mixed feelings about this movie. But I definitely felt something. Not the urge to run away with two guys to a secluded beach just to be clear. Certain scenes were reinvigorating while others felt very depressing. And not just because they were smoking weed and drinking beer without a care in the world. Good for them, I was once like that and I guess that’s a part of it. When emotions take hold of you it’s easy to forget the other side of the coin.
All the anxiousness, inner complexes, and the rest of the human experience. And these two brats are quite obnoxious and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near them. But they’re human and I know how they’re feeling and why. After all, your capacity for rational thinking only kicks in during your mid-20s. I also want to add that most of the male population is looking at this period of their life as the best and it’s their goal to do all those things again. I have to stop here because this is already a long-ass block of text.
The narration makes you feel like you’re watching a book and leaves ample time for reflection. Y Tu Mama Tambien is a movie that examines life through the lens of two guys driven by pure lust and hedonism morphing and growing with a woman who knows a thing or two about the world. All three of our leads gave phenomenal performances. Diego and Gael have been friends since an early age and you definitely feel their chemistry. And Maribel brought a complex character to life with grace and ease.
Thinking about life, friendship, love, sex, and satisfaction comes with an obligatory self-examination. You look at your life and examine it, trying to figure out should you change something. And this can be a bit frightening and difficult, as we all resist change naturally. And I don’t believe in that “life begins outside your comfort zone” crap. It might begin there but it also might end really soon or turn into an even shittier version.
As you can notice, this is a perfect movie for bullshitting, so I want to stop here before I bore the shit out of you. It’s a great date movie because it’s so open to interpretation and it also creates this carpe diem mood. But not this new version of carpe diem, the infamous YOLO version, but a rational, carpe diem with the understanding of your limits and impact on this world and people who inhabit it. That’s encapsulated in the advice that Luisa gives the two guys:
Life is like foam, so give yourself away like the sea.
Luisa, Y Tu Mama Tambien
Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Writers: Carlos Cuaron, Alfonso Cuaron
Cast: Maribel Verdu, Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, Silverio Palacios, Andrés Almeida, Maria Aura
Fun Facts: The title of the movie, Y tu mama tambien means “And your mother too.” It can be offensive term if you use it with another word or as a reply.