Eddie Blue’s review published on Letterboxd:
Y Tu Mama Tambien es hermoso.
The biggest element that sticks out about this film is the way sex is portrayed. Sex scenes in films are often superfluous and too crude with the visual of watching two actors awkwardly rub against each other to be truly titillating in the way they intend to, but Y Tu Mama Tambien is different. There's a raw lust and passion through which the actors perform and director/writer Alfonso Cuaron along with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki insist on getting up close-and-personal. Not only are they filmed in a single set-up but it creates an incredibly intimate atmosphere (maybe even more so than you would like it to be).
To put it simply: It's sexy.
It's also an intrinsic theme of the film, watching horn-dog teens Julio (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Tenoch (Diego Luna) come to view sex as less a tool to get off but more as something that can be a source of liberation, as shown through the free-spirited young woman Luisa (Maribel Verdu). Whether or not the boys take that unknown plunge into adulthood in spite of traditional forms of masculinity, is something I won't spoil. Cuaron and Lubezki film many scenes in a hand-held documentary style, which are then placated into one-shot chunks. It's a testament to Cuaron's iron-clad hold over the blocking that this idiosyncratic filmmaking is rarely noticed, especially since the performers create such natural and heartfelt bonds between the characters. There's an authenticity to their speech (Luna and Bernal often talk over each other) that resonates deeply despite Y Tu Mama Tambien's technical proficiency.
The character's road-trip of fast-vibes and good times are placed against the back-drop of rural Mexico. We witness far-left protests, hard-country living, fascism in full force, and people simply trying to get by from the eyes of three people who are too distracted with the yearning for wander to let it bother them. They are given kindness from folks who are simply happy with their current situation, but as the blunt-force narrator comments, some of those people may not face a fortunate end due to the unforgiving capitalist powers at hand. It reinforces the theme of innocence lost, as whatever Julio, Tenoch, and Luisa touch whether it's the beach or people, seem to dissapate the moment they leave, as time keeps a ' chuggin' along the river. Classism is further enforced by the affluent Tenoch and poor Julio, who do their best to keep the prejudices buried deep inside.
Y Tu Mama Tambien drifts with a lyrically, lovely sense of pacing which is bolstered by downtrodden melancholy. After all, the good times can't last but you can live it to the fullest if you allow yourself to.
Like the best road-trips, you'll be sad to go back home.