Y Tu Mamá También (And your mother too)
|Keywords||Adolescence, Cancer, Death and Dying, Freedom, Grief, Human Worth, Loneliness, Sexuality|
((Note: This film has a surprise ending that will be discussed below.) Tenoch (Diego Luna) and Julio (Gael Garcia Bernal) are friends, two sex-obsessed 17-year-olds boys who flirt with the beautiful and somewhat older (and married) Luisa (Maribel Verdú), at a wedding and invite her to drive with them to an imaginary beach. She pays little attention, but after discovering that her husband has cheated on her again, she decides to flee her crumbling and childless marriage and calls the boys to see if the invitation is still good. The boys quickly make real plans and all three take off to a remote destination.
There is a lot of driving, and the three talk a lot about sex, and then have it. When things threaten to blow apart because of jealousy between the immature boys, Luisa steps in aggressively to take control of the road trip to make it continue to work for her. After she imposes her rules, there are some fine moments of peace at the beach, with Luisa enjoying the natural beauty of the waterfront and also a more mature relationship with the boys. She even attempts a tender if unhappy telephone farewell with her unfaithful husband.
At the beach, Luisa becomes close to a local fisherman, his wife, and their young child, and when the boys have to get back, Luisa announces she is staying at the beach with the fisherman's family. A month later the boys hear that she has died from cancer. A voice-over tells us that the boys will eventually split up with their girlfriends and never see each other again. Luisa's achievement is what remains.
Luisa’s goal in going on the road trip is to live her final weeks with cancer in as fulfilling a way as possible, but we don’t know she has a serious illness until the final minutes of the film, when she has already succumbed. (We do see her, before the trip, briefly going into a doctor’s office to discuss "the results of some tests," but as the doctor closes the door the film cuts to the disastrous phone conversation in which her husband confesses his latest infidelity. Thus we attribute her running away with the boys to her getting fed up with her philandering husband.) By keeping the truth from us for so long, the film operates primarily from the boys’ point of view, emphasizing the carefree sexual romp.
The road trip looks very different when seen as Luisa’s experiment in living the end of her life. In any case, looking back from the end of the film, Luisa handles her end-of-life crisis impressively. Telling no one of her illness, she completely reorganizes her life, settles her affairs with her husband, sets new personal priorities, and effectively controls the results.
She is clearly more in charge of her life, and seems happier, after her terminal prognosis than she was before it. "We die alone," the wisdom goes, and at least for Luisa, breaking her conventional social ties helped her make the best of the process. (The film’s "strong sexual content involving teens" makes it a problematic choice for some classrooms.)
|Leading Actors||Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna|
|Studio||Producciones Anhelo (Mexico); Besame Mucho Pictures (U.S.A.)|
|Running Time||105 minutes|
|Video Source||Metro-Goldwyn Mayer|
|Miscellaneous||In Spanish, with English subtitles available. Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Foreign Language Film (2003), Oscar nomination for best screenplay written directly for the screen (Carlos Cuarón and Alfonso Cuarón), and numerous awards for best foreign film. U.S. film distributor: IFC Films.|
|Annotated by||Woodcock, John A.|
|Date of Entry||11/19/03|