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IFC Films
Official Site
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Producers: Alfonso Cuarón, Jorge Vergara
Written by: Alfonso Cuarón, Carlos Cuarón
Cast: Maribel Verdú, Diego Luna, Gael García Bernal

Rating: out of 5

As a 17-year old, I can tell you that most teenagers are not as obsessed with sex as the main characters in Y Tu Mamá También. Most. In every high school, there is a kid or a group of kids who cannot stop talking about their mostly imagined exploits long enough to chew food. They talk trash about each other’s privates and spend all day horsing around, going to parties, and smoking dope. I assume kids don’t differ across the Mexican border.

The story begins with best buds, Tenoch (Luna) and Julio (García Bernal), graduating from high school. Tenoch is rich and the son of a corrupt politician, while Julio is more middle class. They smoke dope and act like sex-crazed teens, unsure what they’re going to do next with their lives. While flirting with married, 30-something Ana Morelos (Verdú), they tell her that they will be driving to Boca del Cielo for summer. She decides to tag along. But Boca del Cielo was just a name that they made up. The ensuing trip is a tale of class distinction, jealousy, sex, and Mexico.

Such a tale would be dead on arrival without strong acting. Fortunately, the protagonists are superb. The two boys embody the spirit of awkward sexuality. They boast and brag and flirt, but when it comes down to it, they’re as inexperienced as any teenager. They are neither intelligent nor dumb, but rather, directionless. They seem to be stumbling out of the high school’s gate and they don’t want to try and get back into the race. Ana plays the role of their sexual desire. At first, you can feel her standoffish mood, as she is uncomfortable flirting with boys. Then you can see her slowly transform as she learns that she has the two eating out of the palm of her hand. And behind the sex game, lies a profound sense of pain and deep hurt. Some of the most powerful moments of the film are the shots her crying, retching, in emotional agony.

Eventually, the trio discovers how badly sex can burn you if done carelessly. The class separation between the friends fuels their distrust. The tried-and-true theme of jealousy destroying relationships continues in this movie. But the strongest theme, and my personal favorite part of the movie, is Mexico. Periodically, the sound will drop out in the movie, and narrator’s voice will explain some background or plot detail that you cannot see on-screen. These narrations make for a few blissful moments of insight into Mexican politics, society, and landscape. Juxtaposed against the drama of the story, they give a broad portrait of how things are. It really puts the entire film into perspective and elevates the movie from good to fantastic.

Mexico also never looked better. The cinematography captures the dusty heat and rolling hills. There are some particularly impressive tracking shots (look for the one in the car) and a handful of wonderfully cinematic moments (the pigs exiting the camp). The movie is evenly edited and well written. The only plot hold-up is the all too quick and clichéd ending for Ana. Aside from that, the whole movie gets a high recommendation.

Lastly, another note about the sex. If you dislike graphic sex or get squeamish at the sight of naked body, don’t go to this movie. You will spend the entire movie blushing like the sun and end up resenting the picture for its forward nature. Also, the movie will probably get an NC-17. If you’re under 17, do not go see this movie with your parents. Get a stranger to buy your ticket or something. You do not want to submit yourself to that type of torture.

Zack Schenkkan

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

It’s worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

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