Y Tu Mama Tambien is a Spanish language film that translates to “And Your Mother Too”, but the title's relevance is not clear until late in the film. It’s a sort of teenage Mexican road trip featuring two hormonally explosive young men and an older female companion, and all three learn a great deal about each other and themselves.
Tenoch (Diego Luna) and Julio (Gael García Bernal) are 17, best mates, and sexually charged. Their girlfriends are, thankfully for them, quite obliging, but when the girls take off for a holiday to Italy, the boys are left at home to get better acquainted with onanism. At a family occasion, they meet Tenoch’s somewhat obnoxious older cousin, Jano (Juan Carlos Remolina) and, subsequently, his attractive wife, Luisa (Mariel Verdu).
"It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A..."
In an attempt to appear mature, the boys invite Luisa to spend a few days with them in their personal beach paradise they call “Heaven’s Mouth”. Of course she respectfully declines the offer, but when her husband, Jano, calls home while away on business and admits yet another extra-marital indiscretion, Luisa, distraught, calls in the boys’ offer. The trouble is, “Heaven’s Mouth” is a place they made up to impress Luisa, and they frantically seek the help of a drug dealer and friend, who gives them a map and some dodgy directions to a place that sounds like it might look like a “Heaven’s Mouth”.
As they drive, they gradually learn more about Luisa, and she learns about them and their friendship. At an overnight stop in a dodgy motel, Luisa seduces Tenoch with ease, but Julio catches them unawares. In a moment of jealousy shortly after, he admits to sleeping with Tenoch’s girlfriend. Just whom he is jealous of is not clear, but Tenoch is furious, yet their strained friendship holds.
It was the breast of times...
Shortly after, Luisa seduces Julio, and Tenoch experiences jealousy, but again we are unsure of whom he is jealous.
Finally stumbling onto "Heaven's Mouth" at night, they awaken to find they have indeed found an idyllic looking piece of coastline, but the uneasy peace is soon shattered. Forced to abandon their beach camp overnight, Luisa phones Jano to confirm she has had enough of his cheating ways, and Tenoch reveals the first of many secrets to Julio, who returns the favour.
After more alcohol, the three end up together, and while it is not made abundantly clear just what happens between them, it is clear the next morning that things between them will never be the same.
This is a slow burning film that grows in intensity as the sexual tension between the three increases and finally explodes. There is enough uncertainty to keep an audience’s interest, and one or two real surprises. There is a great deal of language, nudity, and sexual goings on, though there is nothing that most of us wouldn’t have seen before, but its R rating is justified.
The three leads are superb, and display an acting maturity way beyond their years. The two boys fully understand the multi-levelled relationship between their characters and underplay it superbly. This is most evident in the final scene set nine months later, when they meet in a café, and are no longer able to relate as they once did, even with the gravity of the bad news that Julio delivers.
The ending is complete, but manages to leave one or two questions unanswered, or so it seems. Those paying attention will know the answers.
This is a fine transfer in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 that is 16:9 enhanced. It is a very clear and sharp transfer with great detail and clarity. Black levels, colouring and skin tones are natural and solid with no evidence of bleeding or noise. Lighting is mostly natural, but shadow detail is not affected.
There is no edge enhancement, very few film artefacts, and almost no evidence of compression artefacts such as shimmer. There is some very mild grain in some of the outdoor scenes, but this shouldn't cause concern. The opening and closing credits are a little wobbly if such things are of consequence to you.
The layer change at 71:03 is well placed and acceptable.
Both Spanish language audio tracks are fine, but there is no English language track. The Dolby Digital 5.1 is quite solid, but also rather subtle. The basics such as volume, clarity and synchronisation are good, and subtitles are mostly well paced with just one or two disappearing quickly during a heated exchange.
There is a great deal of separation and panning, but most dialogue is placed in the centre speaker. The rear channels are used mostly for ambience, though they do pipe up more from time to time to add directionality. This is always natural sounding and balanced.
There is a good sound range and low-level sounds are good, and the subwoofer also chips in from time to time.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 is also fine, with plenty of directionality, but this track highlights the subtle role of the rear channels in the 5.1 mix.
There are two extras included, but only one of note. The Making Of at 22 minutes does a good job going behind the scenes and shows plenty of what happens behind the camera. It is also subtitled in English with a Spanish only audio.
The other is Dendy Previews, which consists of trailers for 8 Femmes and Lovely and Amazing. Stock standard stuff.
You don’t see many Mexican films doing the rounds, but recently this has begun to change and Y Tu Mama Tambien is a fine addition to the canon. Those easily offended by nudity, sex scenes and graphic language won’t enjoy this at all. For the rest of us it is a fine road movie that carries several subtle messages as well as some more obvious ones. It is a film that better rewards those paying close attention.