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Heroes of the Zeroes: Y Tu Mamá También

by on December 10, 2010
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Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000-2009.

“Y Tu Mamá También”
Rated R

Not for nothing does a “Harold and Maude” poster turn up in 2001’s “Y Tu Mamá También.” Like Hal Ashby’s cult classic, Alfonso Cuarón’s film offered, to borrow Spanish-language sass, a chingale to horny-teen genre expectations as a story of sex and separation.

Granted, “También” enjoyed modern-day luxuries of copious nudity and pulse-racing sexual content. However titillating, this ravenous eroticism added steamy authenticity to “También’s” intimate drama.

Tenoch (Diego Luna) and Julio (Gael García Bernal) are Mexican teenagers enjoying a break from monogamy as their girlfriends summer in Italy — anything to avoid adulthood about to strike. Clearly, it’s a matter of time before an unidentified, unseen, omniscient and frighteningly reliable narrator turns observations about life’s follies on them.

To us and to Luisa (Maribel Verdú), Tenoch’s cousin by marriage, the duo is one entity. To them, she’s a sexual idol on a libidinous pedestal, the white-stag older woman. Abandoned by a cheating husband and indulging her caretaker complex, Luisa joins the boys down a road they don’t know, through a dilapidated countryside they’ve never visited, to a possibly fictitious seaside destination.

Regretting her sheltered sexuality, Luisa offers herself to them out of a curiosity, abandon and fairness these jealous boys struggle to appreciate. The trio is top-notch, but Verdú also has a terrific moment alone delivering a farewell in a phone booth.

Ultimately, “También” became a brisk road picture whose camera rode the breeze itself and whose soul, in a subtly stinging coda, knew the limited-time warranty on certain joys.