Y Tu Mamá También

Y Tu Mamá También ★★★★½

Y Tu Mamá También is Alfonso Cuaron at his most unfiltered. It opens with a teenage couple having an intensely passionate sex, with the guy's naked butt facing the camera. They reassure one another that they will not sleep around while the girl is away to Italy. But we know it's an empty promise that will last as long as their orgasmic euphoria. This sexy, playful scene is a no-nonsense introduction that suggests audiences should be prepared for a ton of explicit sex and nudity (and some unexpected semen.)

Y Tu Mamá También centers on two very horny teenage boys (one of whom is played by Diego Luna) as they go on a road trip with an older woman they hardly even know. It's an intimate portrait of two ordinary teenagers put under the lens of Emmanuel Lubezki, whose fluid long-take adds to a sense of authenticity in the actors' performances and the movie that's driven by adolescent impulse and vagary.

While the film is every bit racy as it is raunchy, Cuaron and his brother Carlos, who co-wrote the story, adeptly balance the romp with the sober side of the narrative. The exploration of the central characters' lustful period is framed within the socio-political climate that informed Mexico at the time the movie takes place. The further into the road trip, the more we see rural Mexico, and the sight of it is alarming. It just occured to me that half-way through the film, while we are made aware of all these historical events in Mexico through the voiceover narration, the characters, who are the middle class, are not. They're totally oblivious to the socio-political undercurrent that will eventually affect them one way or another. I guess it's probably the film's unflinching way of exploring testosterone urge, crude humor, and the willingness to confront class division and other social issues that contribute to its enduring power. A number of coming-of-age films that deal with similar themes have already faded from our memery, but Y Tu Mamá También continues to stay.

This is the film that marks the dawn of Cuaron's great career when he established himself as a great storyteller whose technical sophistication would only get more impressive with later films. This man has made three classics including this one that are among the best of their respective decade. Children of Men continues to stay socially relevant, while Gravity remains a powerful survival spectacle.

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