on June 2, 2006
OK, the movie has a lot of sex in it, and the characters talk about sex a lot. If that bothers you, I suggest you don't watch it.
But to say the movie is the Mexican equivalent of "American Pie" or "Porky's" is absurd. I'm pretty sure the director's goals were to produce something a bit more artistic than that. And to call the movie "pedophilistic", as one reviewer did! - the boys in question have graduated from high school and appear in fact to be men. And the woman they're travelling with is 29, hardly the pathetic older woman of one review. Plus it is Mexico, not Spain.
The movie is set in Mexico and is a meditation about and/or indictment of the huge class disparities of the country, and an examination of how Mexico is modernizing. It's about sex, too, of course - I got out of it that behind the macho posturing of many men, there is a yearning for closeness and connection with other men, which they cannot acknowledge. Except sometimes, when they're drunk, for example, as in the scene in this movie that so bothered some reviewers.
The movie is well-made, the dialogue is interesting - the characters actually talk, not just give enough info to move the plot along, as in so many action films - the acting is excellent, and you get to see a lot of Mexico, both the city and the country, the rich, the poor, and the middle-class.
On the technical side, the DVD transfer seems fine.
on May 31, 2004
I thought that this was a good but not great movie, certainly not a waste of time but a let-down after the extreme hype surrounding it. If I had discovered this movie by accident, with no prior knowledge when I watched it, I might feel differently. After hearing so much effusive praise for a film, however, you can't help but go in with very high expectations.
The thing that bothered me most about this movie was that the two teenage boys who serve as its focus did not ring particularly true. Critics seemed to praise Y Tu Mama Tambien for its unflinchingly realistic portrayal of adolescence, but I found this to be more of an adult's conception of teenage life. The portrayal of Tenoch and Julio relies on an endless stream of fart jokes, drug references and sexual banter to highlight their teenage status, but misses the more subtle nuances that make adolescence its own unique and interesting world. Having been a teenager not very long ago, I have to say that I didn't relate to this aspect of the movie.
Other than that, a nice way to spend a lazy afternoon. Just don't go in with sky-high expectations after reading all of the hype.
on April 10, 2004
From all the acclaim this film got outside of its native land, you'd think this would be some stirring masterpiece.In truth, I did enjoy this film quite a bit, and perhaps would've enjoyed it even more if it hadn't been so hyped up.It is well acted, and has a nice organic feel to it.It is lightly funny, and almost always engaging.It features lush views of mexican culture, and natural landscapes.
That said, this movie doesn't really have much to offer on an emotional or mental level.Two lusty 18 year old guys take along a sexy older women on a road trip. Sex is handled with nowhere near the taste and tenderness as it was in the 2001 superb Spanish film, Sex and Lucia. That said, I don't believe that this (...) was supposed to be tender or anything.But the wild romps really didn't add any sort of feeling or effect to the film, and throughout, I kind of got the feeling that the director wanted to show how sensually fearless he and his cast could be.
I feel that if this movie wasn't hyped up so much, I would've taken it for what it was, and enjoyed it: a light,entertaining, and well-filmed road movie thats a good weekend movie to watch in bed, but not much else.
on April 6, 2004
Having heard great things about this movie, and being generally open to foreign movies, I was looking forward to it quite a bit. Sadly, I was very disappointed. As my wife put it, this movie is a cross between an Italian sex comedy and a 70s-vintage German drama. The bad parts of Italian sex comedy and 70s-vintage German drama.
As a character study with very little plot, it fails; the boys are self-absorbed, spoiled and unlikeable, and the older woman they covet is a cipher who we never really get to know, despite the endless talking. She is just the McGuffin, something for the boys to lust after and fight about and then find themselves. I guess they found themselves; the movie just sputters to a halt and I never felt like we had any closure. For this movie to work, you have to care about the characters, and I just never got to the point where I cared about them at all. Indeed, to echo another reviewer, when they turned down a dirt road when they werelost, I found myself hoping they would ride into an ambush just so the movie would be over. In that sense, I cared about them in a negative way, but I don't think that's what the movie was shooting for.
I didn't object to the sex or the nudity. Indeed, by and large, it was anything but erotic. I suspect it was a more realistic depiction of young adult sex than what we see in Hollywood movies, and as such if the MPAA ever allowed such scenes in American films, young women would never have sex again. I did object to the fact that there wasn't a single bodily fluid we didn't get to see. Be forewarned: to borrow a phrase from Seinfeld, this is a pee party.
The best part of this DVD is the 12-minute short film (apparently a student film of the director's) in the Special Features. This film is a riot, and after seeing it I can understand how the director got funding for this movie. Cuaron shows real promise as a director. I hope he tries again with a screenplay that is less of a downer and has more of a plot.
Y Tu Mama Tambien has a number of good things about it, which is why I didn't give it one star. The performances are outstanding, and the technical aspects of the production (aside from the audio) are flawless. As for the audio, the only problem (and it's jarring) is the abrupt audio cut every time we switch from the action to the narrator. And we switch to the narrator a lot. I thought something was wrong with the disc the first time it happened, as we went from a high audio level to zero for a few seconds before the narrator started talking.
on March 30, 2004
Alfonso Cuaron has created perhaps the best "road trip" movie ever filmed and to think he had a hand in it all, co-write, producing, and directing the film. He has a flawless eye for scenery and specifically the nature of growing up, pain, and internal suffering of human relationships. All this coincides with the growth of his home country of Mexico.
The story centers around Julio and Tenoch, two very close, best friends despite their two completely different and separate family backgrounds. They are typical immature (...) teenagers. When they meet a beautiful woman, Luisa, who has her own set of problems, they convince her to take a trip to a made up beach. Along the way, they discover themselves personally and grow, and also along the way, we as the audience, can watch the the growth and maturation of the country.
Y Tu Mama Tambien is a beautiful movie with many levels and loads of symbolism that takes many viewings to appreciate them all. It's definately a movie to own and watch over and over again and appreciate every time.
on January 19, 2004
The tale of self-discovery is a usual theme in movies, particularly in those that focus teens and their first steps into adulthood. "Y Tu Mama Tambien" is such kind of movie that, while it doesn`t bring nothing entirely new, still goes down as an enjoyable cinematic experience. Director Alfonso Cuaron did a decent though not-too-interesting adaptation of Dickens` "Great Adaptations" in 1998. With this more recent release, the end results are a bit better. The plot is about too teens and a late-twenties woman that make a trip through Mexico in a car. Obviously, they will face some inner changes down the road and their friendship, ideas and convictions will be tested and questioned.
Altough the movie is overrated, it still gives some food for thought as it raises issues about growing up, the differences between love and friendship and how it is to be a young adult dealing with new and difficult styles of life. Containing moments of genuine joy while dealing with what it means to lose one`s innocence, this picture is a good reminder of that special summer years ago or a preview of one that is still yet to come.
on December 15, 2003
Y Tu Mama Tambien (translation: And Your Mother, Too) is a movie that could have never been made in America. Quite simply, it's too frank in its depiction of coming-of-age sexuality that it would have never qualified for an R rating in the US. Such a shame, because this film is one of the most provocative and engaging dramas of the past few years.
Julio and Tenoch are two best friends growing up in two different worlds in Mexico. Julio lives with his single mother, a secretary who works hard to provide for her family. Tenoch is a son of privilege, born into a wealthy family with ties to the ruling parties of Mexico. Yet, the two form a seemingly ubreakable bond.
Both of their girlfriends have trotted off to Europe for the summer, and in their loneliness, Julio and Tenoch pick up a beautiful girl at least a decade their senior. Enchanting her with fabricated stories of treasures untold, they convince her to accompany them on a trip to a remote beach.
Along the way, both Tenoch and Julio discover more about themselves and about their sexuality. Any more I can not offer, for fear of ruining a lot of what makes the movie so interesting.
The DVD presentation of Y Tu Mama is bare-bones. There are only a few special features to speak of, but a movie this good is its own special feature. The only viewing option is Spanish spoken with English subtitles, which is wonderful, since this is a film that begs to be at least heard in its native language. The subtitling follows the script very closely and is more than adequate.
All in all Y Tu Mama is a tremendouly challenging film that begs to be noticed. Possibly one of the finest films of the past 2 years.
on November 30, 2003
Like everyone else I bought this DVD after having heard of the great reviews. What I received was disappointing but also good in what I believe they were able to say to me.
Yes, this is a simplistic, low-budget movie. But this movie does an excellent job of presenting what life is like in Mexico, particularly as it relates to the class structure in Mexico. Little things like the countryside, the shops, the Federales stopping traffic are all perfectly depicted.
The primary focus of the memo of course are two young teenage boys struggling with drugs, alcohol, authority and sex. They meet a young woman just struggling. The movie covers their relationship and the tragic hidden secret.
This movie will disappoint many. But for me I was able to find some nuggets and learn from them. I wish I had had the unrated version. The sex scenes IMO were short and two the point although they were very erotic. Overall, if you're buying this for the hype there is high liklihood you will be disappointed. Particularly if you have little experience with subtitles.
on November 30, 2003
My college English teacher was fond of saying that the American novel begins with Huckleberry Finn. *We* invented the rivertrip (then roadtrip) transformational genre. On that level, this movie succeeds brilliantly. Every road trip book or movie should be about transformation, whether it be "On the Road" or "Apocalypse Now" or my personal favorite, "Midnight Run." YTMT is faithful to the genre and had interesting, mostly believable characters to deal with. A couple of small points of dissent, however. I find the extremely long takes to be disturbing (think Hitchcock's "Rope"), and by the middle of the long takes I was struggling to see any minor flubs. The long takes actually took away from my suspension of disbelief, rather than enhanced it. Second, the omniscient voice-over I found to be unnecessary and manipulative. To me, it seemed principally to exist to provide snide, sotto voce political commentary. Unfortunately, in films it seems to be easier to tell us rather than show us.
on November 15, 2003
By now this movie has become rather infamous as a result of its frank treatment of human sexuality, but while this is certainly central to the story and the relationships between the characters, it is a great disservice to the movie to view it merely in terms of its sex. The sex is only a part of a tapestry which attempts (with mixed success) to tie together many diverse aspects of Mexican life and culture into a portrait of the people that make up that country. More than any other movie I can think of, this film goes a long way towards presenting a culture (which is admittedly very different from the USA) to an audience in such a way that through the conduit of the two best friends the viewer feels somehow akin to them and as a result to that culture. From this perspective it is a wonderful movie about cultural understanding employing the medium of common human experience (the coming-of-age of the boys). I'm not sure if this was the filmaker's intention, or if everyone who sees this film will have a similar reaction to it. The language the two boys employed when speaking to each other reminded me of many of my own friends (which maybe doesn't speak well for the company I hang around in), but this really gave me a good impression of the directors' honesty and understanding of our common humanity.
All this being said, when taken simply as a road movie (which is a good vehicle for other thematic elements yet not a very engaging element by itself) this movie is only mediocre. This is sad, because the film spends so much time developing the relationship between the three main characters that it distracts it from the commentary of Mexican life only to replace it with a contrived and poorly concieved overall commentary about the dangers and necessities of human pleasures and their relationship with human pain. I wish I could give this film a five for its clever narrative style, its frankness, and its broad all encompassing reach. Unfortunately, the film mistakes the vehicle of its social commentary for the real film, and while not spoiling it, making it much less interesting than it could have been.