By Katie Weitkamp/The Studio editor
A coming-of-age story told through a road trip, very typical, but “Y Tu Mama Tambien” gets deeper than the average off-beat movie, exploring more than sexuality, relationships, lies and truth.One of the best qualities of the movie is the way the narrator breaks in, telling tidbits of information that make the characters more complete, giving them a past, present and future. Also, it tells the loneliness of the two best friends, even when they’re together.
One of the teenage boys is rich, the other poor. In the beginning they say goodbye to their girlfriends who embark on a tour of Europe. Time without the women and time together brings them closer and tears them apart because of an attractive older woman whose view on life is made clear at the end of the movie, in an unexpected and almost unbelievable way.
The movie does a good job with the little details, Tenoch’s (Diego Luna) maid appears in one scene, not overtly highlighted until at least 20 minutes later in the film. Also, the bickering among family members is brought out in daily life with Julio’s (Gael Garcia Bernal) sister and the car debates. Even the un-thought of loneliness you can have when traveling with your best friend is skillfully portrayed.
Be warned though, this movie is graphic. To portray actual life for a teen-ager would be hard to do without vulgarity and nudity, but upon the first viewing, the shock factor is somewhat high. In the end, however, the techniques used make up for any doubt you may have.
However, the graphic nature of the movie does not add or detract from the actual story of the two friends. While the movie was a smash hit at the Mexican box office, in the United States it was only played at selected theaters before coming out on VHS and DVD, assumably due to the graphic nature and because the movie is entirely in Spanish with English subtitles.
This movie is definitely not the kind of movie to see on a first date, but is entertaining to watch with friends. While the movie is able to tell a story of several different relationships, it is not the kind of movie everyone will like, especially Americans who are afraid of nudity.
I give “Y Tu Mama Tambien” four palettes out of five for a refreshing look at a coming-of-age story.