If I had no shame, I would have begun this review with short, orgasmic sentences.
Alfonso Cuarón has no shame, and for that I am thankful. He has shown me humanity in its most achingly beautiful condition.
I had wanted to see this film for years, electing not to buy it during each successive Criterion sale at Barnes & Noble. This time, I took the plunge, and I watched it when I was alone. The film, saturated with nudity and artistic sensuality, is simply not the type you should see with your parents or your significant other. You’re not supposed to discuss how it made you feel because that ruins it. After watching this film, I sat in silence, incapable of anything but absorbing it all.
Y Tu Mamá También is about two teenagers, Julio and Tenoch (Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna). They go to a secret beach for a weekend, and an older woman accompanies them (Luisa, Maribel Verdú). The boys’ girlfriends have gone off to Italy for a trip, and Luisa has just learned about her husband’s infidelity, and so everybody has a bit of unwinding to do. Everyone has a few secrets they need to tell, usually to spite someone else. Luisa has sex with Tenoch, and then later with Julio.
Written by Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity) and his brother, Carlos, and directed by the former, it is both daring and true, both polished and raw. It is a masterpiece. Employing the director’s signature long-take style for some scenes, you cannot help but remain engrossed for the entirety of the picture. One scene in particular, the one from the photo above, had me amazed that so many beats could be shown, so many movements exhibited, without a single cut.
Then again, the cinematography was handled by the legendary Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman, Gravity, The Revenant). When Lubezki works with Alejandro Iñárritu, the camera works a few tricks, but when he’s with Cuarón, it enhances the story in a way that’s really magical.
It took me a while to see Y Tu Mamá También, but it won’t take me so long next time. It taught me that before things fall apart, they must first come together. This film lets things fall to pieces, and rarely is that done this beautifully.
Y Tu Mamá También is available through the Criterion Collection.