Allyn: Needless to say, I don't agree with your criticisms of Y Tu Mama Tambien
. First of all, I did find the boys to be likable despite their flaws -- Tenoch was a spoiled rich kid, which I detest, yet he tries to rebel against it and the glee with which he partook in certain areas of life was infectious; as for Julio, besides being pretty damn handsome, his charm came from his intelligence and sense of humor. He was always able to make jokes at Tenoch's expense and he was always the first one to donate money to a homeless person. His political view of life was in its larval stage due to his youth, but he was on the right track: counter the absurdity of life with humor and kindness to others. And who among us was not sexually confused and awkward at 17?
YTMT spoilers hereafter
Secondly, I saw exactly what Luisa saw in them: the opportunity to live her final days on Earth with two boys who won't judge her, who won't demand of her, and who won't waste her time. She could order them around, get the sex she wanted, and enjoy the blissful optimism for life that only a teenager at that time and place could have. If Mexico is still in its teenage years as a nation, developing a culture and identity of its own while struggling to find a place both politically and economically, then Tenoch and Julio are its spokesmen -- a nation which mother nature loves but gets frustrated by.
Thirdly, I think the boys took a tremendous amount from the experience. The fact that they don't brag about it and tell story after story to others is one sign of maturity (the narrator makes a point to show how it stayed between the three of them), and I think they learned not only how powerful, exciting, necessary, and fickle sex can be, but also how friendships and relationships are at the mercy of base human desires. They clearly also learned about themselves and their homosexual panic. We don't see any scenes of them after Julio finds out Luisa died, so we don't know how that affected how Julio remembers the trip or what he takes from her actions during it, but the point has been made -- great relationships are transient. You can love a person and never see them again whether they still walk among you or are dead.
And finally, I guess I found even more brilliance in the craft than you did. It's more than just well made, it's exceptionally made. The raw, grainy photography had a certain free-wheeling, vulnerable beauty to it -- unlike the stifling, formal beauty of Cuaron's previous two films. The way the camera would drift away from the action to look out a window or follow a minor character. The pauses between dialogue and static shots of a character's face upon reflection. The drop-out of sound just before narration. And above all this, the movie is just steamy hot with sex. While the sex is clumsy, premature, and awkward, it's still quite unbridled and earnest, making it stand out way above most American fare. Y Tu Mama Tambien
is galaxies more original than Amores Perros
and also has quite a bit more to say about the world and our place in it. It's now been 10 days or so since I saw it, and I like it even more. Had it come out in 2001, it would have bested Wong Kar-wai's film as my #1. A tremendous achievement in cinema. I can't wait to see it again.