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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Y Tu Mamá También (2001)


And Your Mother Too means a whole lot more than you think.

Tenoch and Julio (Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal) are two teens in their prime. They have sex, they love it, and they use it to their advantage. Even better, it’s Summer so they can practically do all that they want with it, even if that means being able to take an unfulfilled wife (Maribel Verdú) along for the ride. And I don’t mean just the physical one, I mean an actual one that they decide to take to a beach called “Mouth of Heaven”. Whether or not they actually get there, is no concern of these two dudes. They just want to get banged and have a good time. Oh, what it feels like to be young again.

Anybody who has ever heard of this movie know it for the single fact that it contains a lot of nudity, sex, and dirty stuff going down, in, and around anywhere that you can imagine. And hell, even when the peeps aren’t bangin’, they are still talking about sex. So, basically, you have a movie that’s about 65% sex, and 35% a meaningful and engaging story. Doesn’t sound so bad, which it isn’t at all.

And when you have a co-writer and director like Alfonso Cuarón behind the mantel, you can always expect greatness whether in terms of writing, directing, or a little of both. What I love so much about Cuarón’s style is that he plays it so cool and subtle, by letting the story tell itself, but still has an eye that catches yours as well. He loves his tracking-shots and that is very abundantly clear in plenty of scenes here, but the way that he is able to capture certain images of Mexico, not only makes it seem more realistic, but beautiful in it’s own gritty way. This isn’t the type of Mexico we see in almost all movies. This is a dirty, infected, and sometimes, raunchy place that people live in, and yet, can still call “home”. That said, there still are plenty of shots that will catch your eye off the bat, but you never feel like you are in a world of glitz, glamour, and happiness. Yes, there is a degree of happiness going on, but it isn’t in the type of place you’d expect to see captured on film, and captured so wonderfully.

That, Alfonso Cuarón, man. He’s sure got a thing for beauty.

"Probably just those horny, young boys I went on a country-wide trip with in need of some more lovin'."

“Probably just those horny, young boys I went on a country-wide trip with in need of some more lovin’.”

Aside from the visuals, the real beauty of this flick lies within the screenplay that some may be surprised by. At first, the movie begins as your typical, goofy-romp of a bunch of young dudes who love swinging dicks, doing drugs, and getting any type of gals they can. They also like to pal around, talk about sex, and challenge each other to simple games like “Who can win a pool race?”, but it’s mostly concerning them committing the act of sex. It’s what takes over their minds, their bodies, and well, everything else that has to do with their life. They’re young, free, and nimble, so they can get away with all of that, without being pervy or disgusting. Basically, they are what I aspire to be in life. Poor old me.

Anyway, this movie starts off like that for a good 30 minutes or so, but then totally changes around and proves to be something more than what you’d ever expect from a movie that opens up with a shot of a dude and chick banging. Before I go any further, speaking of the banging, I have to give Cuarón some real, fine credit for not editing-out any of these shots and having them all play-out like real sex does. Yeah of course some will say that it’s pretty much soft-core porn and I wouldn’t argue against that, but it’s the way it’s filmed without any frills, that really caught me. You feel as if you are not just watching people having sex, but making love and sharing passions between one another. I know I make these sex scenes sound like they are so much more than what they actually are, but it is what it is. They aren’t just moments of sex sprinkled in so people can start poppin’ Woodies all over the place; they are included to show you how people can be love one another, by by trading emotions, while also swapping fluids and spit as well. Some deep, heavy shit, yo. I know.

But anywho, away from that and back to the story!

The story of these three people figuring shit out between one another, realizing there are more than just “d’s and v’s”, and learning more about life in the process, doesn’t sound like anything too original, but in a way, it is. The movie tackles the subject of growing up in a way you won’t see coming with how it shows you all of the true, adolescent insecurities men go through as they get older and struggle with who they want to be, but also what makes people really mean all that much more to the other. We see this friendship go through many, many crazy twists and turns, and whether or not they actually like each other is the least of our problems. What is, is how they can view the other person, and whether they can keep this “sex thing” going on, but have a life outside of it all. You think of the people you knew or still do know, and whether they could really be your best-pals, or just your sworn-enemies once you get right down to it. If you thought the hot and sexy scenes I was talking about up above was really, the story is so much more than that. It got me thinking, it had me understand more about sex, and the best thing of all, it had me re-think some situations where I had the encounter of sex in front of me, and chose to do whatever I wanted it with it. That’s right: My penis, my rules. Bitch.

The parts that did take me out of this story, were the ones where it tried to be a bit more than just a road movie about people boning. I get that the movie had some sort of agenda on it’s mind where it wanted to tackle a political-happening at the time of this movie taking place, but for me, myself, and I: it wasn’t catching on. I’ll get the movie credit for at least going out there and reaching for the sky, but it should have just stuck with its grounded, human emotions, rather than really going full-force with political messages. Political messages, mind you, that weren’t really all that subtle to begin with.

That crap aside, the cast is what really sells the hell out of this movie. We all know that Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal are the Spanish-movie buddies that we see together from time-to-time, but this is where they got their start at palling around so much, and what a beautiful start it was. It’s strange how both of them play two different guys, but yet, still consider themselves besties in the way that they can joke around with one another and do whatever they want to the other. Sort of like real besties, except with more banging. For instance, Luna’s character is a rich, smarty-smart that has his head on his shoulder a bit a more than Bernal’s. That’s not to say Bernal’s character isn’t all that smart either, but it’s more to say that the guy cares more about what goes on between the sheets, rather than the textbooks. Again, nothing wrong with that, but it seems like a certain age you hit, it’s all downhill from there. Then again, I wouldn’t know.

It takes two, or three to tangle. Which ever one you'd prefer.

It takes two, or three to tangle. Whichever one you’d prefer.

Despite their characters both being different in ways, they still seem like great pals and it’s no wonder why these two have teamed-up together so much since this movie came out. Their chemistry is very believable in the way that they are able to goof off of one another, without taking much offense, and also how they were able to speak so candidly about their true feelings for one another. They love each other like most dudes in most bromances should, but when is that considered “too much”? That’s the answer I continued to hear ringing throughout my head the whole movie and it’s a point that the movie touches on in a smart, but sensual way as well. Homophobes. be warned.

However, the one that really walks away with this movie and with these guy’s souls is Maribel Verdú, the wife that they pick up along for the ride. Not only is she the best character out of the whole bunch, but also the best performance in the way that she is able to do a total 180 with her character, and keep us guessing what she’s really up to. We know she just wants to get away from her married-life at home, and we know that she wants to be a little wacky and wild, but what else does she want to do? There’s always these intriguing questions that linger in our minds about her and they’re worth it, because this character has us believe her every step. She’s honest in the way that she looks at her life, but also in the way that she looks at their lives as well, and makes them wonder what it is that they could and should do to be the best that they can be. She’s like a mother to them, in a way. A very incestuous one at that, but you get my drift. Great performances, all around.

Consensus: The steamy sex scenes in this movie may detract some people’s minds from the real beauty and sadness inside Y Tu Mamá También that is not only a postcard for the back-alleys of Mexico, but also a love-letter to what it’s like to be living wild and crazy in the Summer, but realize it won’t last forever. Sort of like sex. See what I did there?

9 / 10 = Full Price!!

Happy times. How they never last.

The happy times: How they never last.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJoblo

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16 responses to “Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

  1. ninvoid99 October 3, 2013 at 4:17 am

    Actually, many of the political context that is in display with the film I think is important. Especially in what was happening in Mexico at the time where PRI party was on its way out as it’s a film that showcases a sense of change that is happening where I think the narration makes absolute total sense. Even in how the story ends.

    • Wendell October 3, 2013 at 2:02 pm

      You hit the nail on the head. This is an outstanding piece of film all the way around. Even without the political slant it still works as a coming of age/loss of innocence/life transition movie. It’s pure genius.

  2. Brittani Burnham October 3, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Great review, I absolutely agree. This movie could’ve so easily been exploitative, but it wasn’t.

  3. mikeyb @ screenkicker October 3, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    You know something, I haven’t actually seen this but I’m definitely hunting it down now

  4. vinnieh October 3, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Excellent review, the film can be read on many levels, predominantly as a study of the youthful learning lessons in life.

  5. Eric @ The Warning Sign October 3, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    Glad you dug this one, Dan. This has been one of the highlights from my project this year. Such a great film.

  6. SundayDumbDay October 4, 2013 at 6:27 am

    Excellent review Dan. This film hit home with me the first time I saw it. A very difficult film to watch but fantastic nonetheless!

  7. velveetahead October 4, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    It has been years since I have seen this movie. I watched it when it first came out as a rental. It was my first encounter with Luna and Bernal. I remember being so impressed with them and getting excited when I saw them in another movie. For some reason, I didn’t remember this was an Alfonso Cuaron movie. No wonder I remember it fondly.

  8. jennypugh October 12, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Thanks for posting, I hadn’t heard of Y Tu Mamá También but it looks like a great film. I’ve added it to my LoveFilm list and I can’t wait to see it :D

  9. Ben Russell October 23, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Great review! It’s interesting that you focus a lot on the “sex” aspect of the film. That didn’t have much sway with my adoration for it. I never really saw the sex scenes as anything more than a believable and simple part of the storytelling. They’re effective and key to shaping the characters in my opinion, just like it was in the film Lust, Caution (2007).

    Maribel Verdu man… highlight of the film for me. Unforgettable performance :)

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