Friday, December 18, 2009

Film Decade List #11: Y tu Mama Tambien

Y tu Mama Tambien (Alfonso Curon, Mexico, 2001)
On its basic level, Y tu Mama Tambien is pretty much a teen sex movie. Instead of playing it for cheap laughs or a making it a complete raunchfest, Curon imbibes the film with a melancholy examination on what it actually means to come of age. The two main teen characters, Julio (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Tenoch(Diego Luna) do go away with an older woman, Luisa (Maribel Verdu), with sex involved. What occurs on the trip is much more than that, as the film deftly balances a frank depiction of teenage sexuality with an examination of the economic disparity of Mexico. All these characters are from the more privileged classes of Mexican society and as they are on their trip, Curon never fails to show the (large) differences between the rich and poor in Mexico. If Julio and Tenoch were poor, they would not be on this trip. While the trip is filled with horny teenage shenanigans, the ending of the film reveals that the trip had a much different meaning for Luisa than it did for the two boys. It ends up creating an ending where these characters really did learn something about themselves. Bernal, Luna, and Verdu all work so well together, bantering, quizzing, and teasing each other that crackles with a vibrancy that is seen in nothing called a teen movie. Give credit for Curon for treating subjects that are all too often in American mainstream cinema used for shitty laughs and exploitative purposes and giving depth and meaning to a well-told story.

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