|Pick of the Week:|
Reviewed by Ivana Redwine
Length: 105 minutes
MPAA Rating: Two versions—one unrated, the other R-rated for strong sexual content involving teens, drug use, and language
"Y tu mamá también" is a high-spirited Spanish-language film that I enjoyed immensely. I watched the unrated DVD version of the movie, but there is also an R-rated version available on DVD. The R-rated version is about five minutes shorter than the unrated one, presumably because some of the nudity and sex has been cut. Another difference between the unrated and R-rated DVD releases is that the unrated one offers more in the way of special features.
Although "Y tu mamá también" features both male and female nudity and erotic sex scenes, it seems to me the film is primarily about lost innocence and prices to be paid. Actually, the characters spend most of their screen time engaging in meaningful conversations with one another. I also liked it that the movie gave me the opportunity to learn more about Mexico.
The central characters in "Y tu mamá también" are Tenoch (Diego Luna) and Julio (Gael García Bernal), two buddies who live in Mexico City and are about 17 years old. The film opens with Tenoch having sex with his girlfriend Ana, then moments later we see Julio have sex with his girlfriend Ceci. The couplings are acts of goodbye, and Ana and Ceci are immediately off to Europe, leaving Tenoch and Julio at loose ends. The two young men seem to spend most of their time obsessing about sex and consuming alcohol, marijuana, and ecstasy.
When Tenoch and Julio attend an elaborate wedding, they meet Luisa (Maribel Verdú), an attractive married woman who is about 28 years old. The two young men invite her to travel with them to a beach called Heaven's Mouth. She declines initially, but unpleasant events transpire over the next few days that cause her to change her mind. Thus, Julio, Tenoch, and Luisa set out by car on the long trip from Mexico City to somewhere on the Pacific Coast south of Acapulco. As they drive along, we get many fascinating glimpses of contemporary Mexico.
Julio, Tenoch, and Luisa do a lot of talking on their journey, and it's not long before the conversation starts to center around sex. The frank talk paves the way for action, and the movie contains some fairly graphic sex scenes. But reactions to the sex lead Julio and Tenoch to say hurtful things, and their friendship becomes severely strained.
Eventually the three travelers arrive at a beautiful undeveloped beach, where they encounter a jolly local fisherman and his delightful family. The mood lightens, and when Luisa, Tenoch, and Julio drunkenly dance together in a cantina, it seems possible that the two young men are on their way to a reconciliation. However, we are soon shown a somber meeting between Tenoch and Julio that takes place some weeks later in a Mexico City coffee shop, and the film comes to a melancholy end.
I loved this unusual and fun art-house movie. I found "Y tu mamá también" to be artistic, cinematic, and thought-provoking. It's one of the best DVD releases of a contemporary film I've seen this year.
The unrated "Y tu mamá también" DVD offers several special features. There are three deleted scenes, and I suppose I should mention that the actors keep their clothes on in all of them. There's also a fairly good 23-minute making-of feature, which is in Spanish with English subtitles. In addition, there's a 12-minute short film by writer-director Carlos Cuarón, and this is a fun sex farce in Spanish with English subtitles. For those who understand Spanish, the DVD contains a boisterous feature-length commentary track with young actors Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, and Andrés Almeida, but no English subtitles are available for their commentary.
Selected Special Features on the DVDs:
• Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1)
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