It’s been awhile since I did one of these, and I know I have some new readers following the move, so I’ll do a quick recap of the idea. Basically, I have a bad habit of telling people who I have seen movies that I have not in fact seen. In many cases this is because I feel like I know enough about the film to keep a conversation going, and I’d rather do that than have the semi-scolding moment where someone goes “What? But you love movies how haven’t you seen ____?” Anyway a couple of years ago I filled up my DVD Netflix Queue with movies that I had one point claimed to have seen and I’m attempting to retroactively correct my lies.
So last night I stayed in and watched Alfonso Cuarón’s Y Tu Mamá También, which I have been claiming to have seen since high school. In reality all I knew about it was that Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal and that it had a lot of sex scenes. Both of those things are true and Luna and Bernal are wonderful as teenage friends Tenoch and Julio who are alternately annoying and heartbreaking (the ways teen boys are). The plot follows them as they on a lark invite Tenoch’s cousin Luisa (Maribel Verdú) on a trip to see a beach they’ve never been to and then scramble to follow through when she accepts them. The trip is then a journey of discovery and sexual awakening and it could have been very cliché if it weren’t so strange.
I don’t mean to sound flippant, there are some wonderful moments in this movie, but I kept feeling very weird watching it. I was 12 when it came out and by the time I was in high school I remember girls talking about how hot Luna and Bernal were in it and so I was sort of expecting to feel the same way, but mostly what I felt was that this was a movie about children and the adult woman who decides to sex with them. I know that’s not fair, the boys are supposed to be 18 at least (they’ve just graduated from high school) and she’s not in any way coercing them, but I could not get over it.
I mean look at Diego’s little baby face:
I know it’s just an issue of perspective (I know what Diego Luna looks like now so the contrast is off-putting), but still. I kept wondering what Luisa’s motivation was the whole time. Thankfully there is some explanation given at the end, but it didn’t make up for the unsettling feeling I had the whole time.
Also Cuarón makes an interesting formal choice and uses almost novelistic voice over narration to place the story into the context of Mexican politics and I’m not sure if it’s just due to my own ignorance, but those interjections mostly felt jarring to me. But maybe that was the intention…
Overall I feel like I would have enjoyed this movie more if I had seen it back when I was claiming to, but that’s going to happen sometimes I think, especially with stories that are about growing up.