Starring: Maribel Verdú, Diego Luna, Gael García Bernal
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Running Time: 106 mins
Y Tu Mamá También is a Mexican film about two teenagers who take an attractive older woman with them on a road trip across the country. Along the way, the three of them reflect on their loves and lives, whilst also growing a strong but complicated bond with each other.
At times a coming-of-age drama, at others a road trip comedy, Y Tu Mamá También is an entertaining and captivating watch throughout. Alfonso Cuarón’s direction is excellent, on occasions bringing a powerful beauty to the film, whilst the central performances are fantastic all round, effectively portraying the characters’ increasingly complicated relationships with one another.
However, before we get into all that, I want to start with the film’s very graphic nature. Originally rated NC-17 in the US before being heavily cut, this is full of frank and graphic sex scenes, and that does make for somewhat uncomfortable watching at the beginning. It’s an important thing to know going in, as although it is actually integral to the story, it’s something that not everyone will feel up to watching for two hours.
Anyway, the reason that Cuarón does depict it in such a graphic way is because of how the story looks at the two teenagers coming of age. Portrayed as idealistic and romantic about love and sex early on in the film, the combination of taking a road trip with a woman who cares a lot less about that, and the frank depictions of sex, we get just as much of a slap in the face as the two when it comes to seeing that it’s just not like that in the eyes of so many adults.
As well as being an interesting part of the story, it’s also something that makes for some good entertainment. We see the two teenagers constantly battling with each other for the affections of the older woman, but when shown from her perspective, they look almost pathetic in their idealistic attempts. Her experience and ability to manipulate them is far more powerful than either of their advances, which I thought was pretty funny to watch.
Alongside watching the coming-of-age story centring around the two teenagers, the film also focuses on the older woman as she looks back on how her life has gone so far. Maribel Verdú’s performance is excellent, and she shows her character’s desire to just get away from all her troubles in any way possible, but feels continuously frustrated when there’s no way to escape them.
Although not as central as the teenagers’ story, her part of the story is far more dramatic and deep. Particularly in the last act, there’s a lot more focus on her character breaking free from her frustrations, in which time the film goes into a more reflective and dramatic mood than the road trip before.
Finally, I want to talk about the film’s cinematography. Cuarón’s direction is excellent throughout, but it’s some of the incredible shots of the landscape that the characters drive across contrasted with small and dirty rooms that make this film an impressive and beautiful watch. It’s not just a road trip movie, nor is it just a coming of age story, but often a powerfully deep and meditative film.
Overall, I was impressed by Y Tu Mamá También. With excellent directing, performances and cinematography from start to finish, the film is both an entertaining and captivating watch, with a coming of age story and personal drama set within an enjoyable road trip, which is why I’m giving this a 7.6.