Hi to you all, as usual, I'm late to the discussion. I did write this before I read any others, so if I repeat - sue me. I'll be participating in a kamikaze-like way on here. Can't guarantee anything with my schedule. I have missed you all, though.
Y Tu Mama Tambien
(Here there be SPOILERS)
The thing I liked most about this film is the complex, subtle and intimate way it addresses the difficult issue of class differences. The two friends are from widely different class backgrounds. Even from the first scenes, the boys are treated differently because of their birth station (Tenoch can have sex with his girlfriend in her room with her mother’s approval – because he’s a good catch; and Julio has to beg entry into his girlfriend’s house under her father’s disapproval – because he is not even ‘catch’ material). This sly way of digging beneath the surface of their lives and friendship is integral to the fabric of the film. It is brilliantly conceived. I loved how Cuaron displays all of his disgust for the terrible conditions in Mexico while the boys, being so young and obsessed with Luisa, blithely ignore it all.
Their differences are expressed in so many ways: Julio cringes slightly when approached by a pauper while Tenoch reaches almost unconsciously into his pocket for coins; they never go to Julio’s home and then it is also less subtly given in the voice-overs. I never caught how they originally became friends but it is clear that they have been best friends for a long time. When they are a team, class is irrelevant (on the surface – but the voice-overs dig beneath that to expose the prejudices).
The appearance of Luisa takes the boys completely by surprise. They don’t have the wisdom to question this. They are so caught up by their own self-importance that they can’t take a step back and ask what in the world could she possibly see in them. They just accept it as good luck. Take it and run with it. I think she is charmed by this ready acceptance without question of her motives (not the way a more mature man, hopefully, would respond). She is a woman for whom there are no consequences. She has ditched her conscience. The only time she has second thoughts is when she calls her husband to say her last goodbyes and to make sure he knows where things are. She’s still taking care of him, the care-taking role she has played her entire adult life. She, however, doesn’t see herself in this way. Her illness has given her the freedom to reject how others see her; she has no future. So, she doesn’t have to think about others and how her actions will affect them for the first time in her life (even her profession was chosen to fit around her aunt’s illness). She is convinced that the boys are in love with each other, which they are but they are both raving heterosexuals (or at least this is how they see themselves). Therefore, they are not capable of expressing this affection physically until Luisa more or less forces them to. She doesn’t realize what she’s done and probably doesn’t care; but that act destroys their friendship because they cannot deal with their episode of sexual intimacy. They are no longer a team. Class now becomes the major issue between them.
I think that the one who suffers from this loss most is Tenoch, because Julio’s friendship and support gave him the strength to withstand the social pressure he was under (his father, his mother, his station in life, and the expectations all these elements placed on him). Julio was the only one in his life, other than the nanny, who loved him as a person independent of his social status. Without Julio’s support, Tenoch couldn’t follow his own path and ended up caving into his father’s expectations (he also started dating ‘the girl next door’ i.e. same social class, same wealth, almost the same address, same everything - SAFE). He is lost to the system and will follow in his father’s footsteps and always have clean toilets and a perfect house cleaned by someone other than a family member. Julio is the one who will change and effect change. His background is poor. He is going to college, majoring in Biology and setting his own course – no longer held back by Tenoch’s prejudice (of his class). He is now freed of Tenoch’s judging him as worthless trash.
As far as the sex goes, I thought it a little in-your-face. They were both laughably incompetent at sex, yet had no idea because young girls rarely complain (partially cause they don’t know that they are missing out on something). They thought they were hot stuff (they came, so it must have been good for her too). Luisa’s face after Julio comes too quickly in the car was one of the best parts of the movie, she was so disgusted with him (“it was hardly worth the effort” is what I imagined her saying to herself). I’m not even sure what happened on that last night, it’s sort of unclear as to whether Luisa stayed around or not. I think she had lost interest in them both by then and simply wanted to get them into bed with each other.