Y Tu Mama Tambien (And Your Mother Too), is a 2001 film by Alfonso Cuaron that was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards (lost to Talk to Her). I couldn’t find a winner of that award that began with the letter Y, so am including this excellent film about two teenage boys and a 20-something woman taking a road trip.
Tenoch (Diego Luna) and Julio (Gael Garcia Bernal) are best friends. They meet Tenoch’s older cousin Luisa (Maribel Verdu) at a wedding, and chat about taking a trip to Heaven’s Mouth on the Pacific Ocean. Her husband out of town, she leaves with the two young men. Once the road trip commences, we are taken along on a journey from Mexico City through Oaxaca towards the blue sea. They don’t really know exactly how to get to Heaven’s Mouth. It is questionable whether they’ll ever end up there.
The film is rated R for strong sexual content involving teens, drug use and language. The boys are obsessed with sex, drugging, and drinking. They are looking towards college, and with their girlfriends in Italy for the summer, are free to take this trip.
Y Tu Mama Tambien takes a drive through the beautiful Mexican countryside, the rural culture, the animals, religion, poverty, and beauty that is Mexico. Some customs I saw are not unfamiliar to me living in New Mexico: elaborate roadside memorials of crosses, flowers and candles marking someone’s untimely death, the Day of the Dead altars and offerings for the deceased, with all the dearly departed favorite things. The people who live in these rural areas somehow make a life for themselves, through animal husbandry and a bit of farming.
Alfonso Cuaron has written a unique screenplay, and that is part of the film’s charm. Throughout the action, time will almost stop, and the narrator tells about something we cannot see happening, but that gives the story new meaning. It’s like the ghosts of people who have lived on this planet before us are being given a voice.
If you are a student of film, watch this movie. There is lots of drama, sexuality, and building and tearing down of relationships during the journey for all three unlikely companions. It is not until the very final scene that the big reveal happens. Everything has been leading up to it, and when it is made clear, it is like Pow! It hits you the viewer as much as it does our characters.
Alfonso Cuaron is the recipient of two Academy Awards, for Best Film Editing (shared with Mark Sanger) and Best Director for the fine film Gravity in 2013. He was the first Hispanic/Mexican to win for Best Director at the Academy Awards.
You will no doubt know Gael Garcia Bernal as a fine actor with many movies to his credit, and with a current award winning TV show, Mozart in the Jungle. He and his two fellow actors make this movie one you will not forget.