Y TU MAMÁ TAMBIÉN: FILM REVIEW
Y Tu Mamá También is a vibrant piece of work; it resembles a sticky summer heat that can only be matched by the energies of two teenage boys and a woman who has just been wronged. Director Alfonso Cuarón’s ability to reflect the feeling of sticky bodies and dripping sweat onto the viewer reminds me of the “hottest day of the summer” in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing.
Y Tu Mamá También follows two teenage best friends, Julio and Tenoch, who are ready to spend a summer as bachelors while their girlfriends take a trip to Italy. At a wedding, they meet Luisa, the sexy wife of Tenoch’s cousin, and they propose a trip to a fictitious beach called Heaven’s Mouth. Luisa originally declines, but upon finding out her partner has been disloyal, she says fuck it. The three go on an adventure through rural Mexico, driven only by the possibility of finding heaven on earth.
Sexual liberation is rarely depicted rightfully in American films. Sex is often an end-product, acting as the climax to built up tension and drama. However, in Y Tu Mamá También, sexual liberation is not treated as a product, but rather a fluid journey, untainted by pornographic qualities of American cinema. The opening shot of the film shows Tenoch having sex with his girlfriend, then cuts into a shot of Julio in his girlfriend’s house, as their seemingly innocent relationship reveals its typical teenage sneakiness as soon as they step behind closed doors. The film’s subtle comedic quality preys on moments of relatable, hushed-up interactions.
Throughout the journey, resentment grows between Julio and Tenoch, as their mutual attraction to Luisa becomes clear. The film does an excellent job of bringing the two’s homoerotic attraction to the surface in a way that is subtle but unsurprising. Much like the film’s portrayal of sex, the boys’ exploration of their own sexualities is a natural development, not a curated experience. While following the trio’s road trip to nowhere, Cuarón is able to capture a wide gaze of rural Mexico, from revealing Julio’s small apartment, to emphasizing the beauty of a string of trees. These shots enhance the intimacy of the film and the relationships that develop.
Y Tu Mamá También is fast; it is flirty. However, above all, it is freeing. Moments in Cuarón’s Roma have a similar quality. Much of the chemistry between the characters can be contributed to the deliberate choice to cast actors Diego Luna (Tenoche) and Gael Garcia Bernal (Julio), who have been best friends since childhood. In Y Tu Mamá También, the original destination gradually waivers and the journey manifests a spiritual pretense. A chance encounter just makes the day more heated and the phrase "and your mother too" still stands.