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Y Tu Mamá También
Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
Written by: Alfonso Cuarón, Carlos Cuarón
Starring: Maribel Verdú, Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna
Language: Spanish [with English subtitles]
Look for it at the video store under:
foreign [Mexico]
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something: hip
The critic says: / 5 the rating system explained
Fun factor: /5

Plot synopsis Best friends Tenoch and Julio are seventeen and carefree, working hard to enjoy the long days of doing absolutely nothing during this one last summer of their youth. They’ve just graduated from high school, and their girlfriends have taken off for a trip to Europe, leaving the boys home alone with plenty of free time on their hands. This they divide between getting high at the palatial home of wealthy Tenoch’s family – his dad is a corrupt high-ranking government official -- sneaking in for a swim at the local country club when it’s supposed to be closed for maintenance, and talking about all the girls with whom they’re planning to score (but won’t). In short, life’s a little dull, until they meet lovely Spanish-born Luisa at a family wedding. Luisa’s a good deal older than the boys, and the wife of Tenoch’s pretentious writer cousin Jano, but neither fact stops the boys from trying to convince her to join them on a spontaneous trip to a secluded, legendary (and possibly non-existent) strip of perfect beach called Heaven’s Mouth. Their offer is declined at first, for all the obvious reasons, but when a few days later, Luisa receives a drunken late-night phone call from her no-good husband – in which he tearfully confesses that he’s just cheated on her – she makes the sudden decision to give Tenoch and Julio a ring. Soon, the unlikely trio find themselves taking off on a crazy five-day road trip towards the coast.

Review There’s a lot of nudity and a lot of sex in Alfonso Cuaron’s bawdy, erotic, teen comedy-drama, Y Tu Mamá También. And we’re not talking prim and proper Hollywood sex either, where private parts stay carefully hidden behind strategically placed objects in the foreground, and everything’s shot in dim, soft, romantic lighting designed expressly to give viewers a vague sense of what’s going on, without letting them see much of anything specific at all. No, the sex in Y Tu Mamá También is raw, graphic and frank (as is much of the banter between Luisa and the boys) and in a different film, certainly, one might be inclined to dismiss it as exploitative or gratuitous. But this is not porn. Sex is an integral part of one of the movie’s main themes, the joy of living; it’s the celebration of the intimate emotional connections that individuals learn to form with each other as they travel through life. When Luisa teaches the boys about how to please a woman, it’s not just about sex – she’s giving them a life lesson in the importance of thinking about the needs of the people around you, caring for others besides yourself. On an even deeper level, Cuaron’s movie is as much a coming-of-age flick about his native country as it is about the two boys at the story’s center: as we travel from the affluent, urbanized, environs that the boys inhabit to the nowhere towns and tiny villages that lead to the coast, we see and learn (through chance encounters and voiceover narration) bits and pieces of Mexico as it was, as it is, and as it will be. What I like about Y Tu Mamá También is that it takes standard American Hollywood movie elements that could easily have become cliché – the road trip of lost innocence, the seductive older woman – and creates something that feels fresh and original and very firmly rooted in the realities of modern Mexico, giving us a glimpse into a culture that many of us Americans know little about, despite our geographic proximity.—reviewed by Yee-Fan Sun

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