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Film Discovery: Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001)

Diego Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal in Y Tu Mama Tambien

Director: Alfonso Cuaron

Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, Maribel Verdu

If you don’t subscribe to Hulu, I suggest you do. There are times when I even preferred it to Netflix due to its premium selection of foreign and independent films. On a slow night, I found a gem with Y Tu Mama Tambien. During my final semester of school , I took Latin American Culture in Film for fun and loved it. It had opened me to a world to films from my culture, as well as international cinema in general. On my streaming subscriptions, I looked for some Latin films I could enjoy on my own. My professor never mentioned Y Tu Mama Tambien, but I put it on my must-watch list. I’m not sure why she never mentioned it- maybe because it was too risque for a class, or there was not enough time to squish in any more films. I mean, we not only were covering Mexico, but all of Latin America too!

Upon its release, Y Tu Mama Tambien was the highest grossing film in Mexico, and was heavily praised- earning a Best Original Screenplay nomination at the 2003 Academy Awards, and a Best Foreign Language Film nomination at the 2002 Golden Globes, among many other recognitions. It has earned its spot as a classic, and I see what all the hype was about. I couldn’t believe this film was directed by the same man who directed Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban, A Little Princess (One of my favorite movies as a kid), and Gravity!

I was amazed by the film. It was one of those films that left me pensive afterwards, and I really wanted to discuss it with someone. The film is a coming-of-age tale about two friends Julio (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Tenoch (Diego Luna) who embark on a road trip with an older woman named Luisa (Maribel Verdu). The roadtrip begins due to a fib the two boys tell in order to intrigue Luisa. They make up an imaginary beach called Boca del Cielo (Heaven’s Mouth), and initially Luisa declines their offer to travel with them, but after the news of her husband’s infidelity and a mysterious doctor’s appointment, Luisa gives them a call. The trio go an adventure through the beautiful Mexican countryside during the changing political atmosphere of the time. The story primarily revolves around the themes of friendship, sexuality, and adulthood but there are so many more layers to it. During the course of the trip, Julio and Tenoch discover a lot about life and themselves, which leads to the unfortunate ending of the film.

Photo Still from Y Tu Mama Tambien

The main thing I got from this film, is letting go and allowing yourself to be free. We don’t get as much insight into Luisa’s life, but we know that she was troubled, and needed to be liberated. At the conclusion of Y Tu Mama Tambien, we learn that Luisa had cancer, and had passed away a month after Julio and Tenoch departed. We don’t really know what her life was like prior to the trip, but we do know that she had a chance to experience true joy and freedom in the company of Julio and Tenoch. The films reminds us that life is short, so we should make the most of it while we’re here.

Adriana is a twenty-something Marketing Coordinator and Content Writer living in San Diego. Her passions are films (of course), writing, social justice, bargain hunting, and carbs. The Franco brothers are to her what Morris Day and the Time are to Jay and Silent Bob. She plans on moving to Los Angeles in March of 2018.

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