Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN (2001)
It's a story you've heard before: two teenage boys with raging hormones persistently try their luck with a woman far out of their league. It's been done before, it will be done again. What will never be repeated, however, is the brilliant subtlety that this movie really rides on. I could count on my fingers the amount of times narration in movies has been done right, and this one would certainly hit high up on that list. The real meat of this movie is in the depth of its characters and the richness Mexico, which may as well be a character in itself. Diego Luna gives a solid performance as the rich and spoiled Tenoch, while Gael Garcia Bernal matches his performance with his less fortunate best friend, Julio. The dynamic between these boys is so rich and believable that it came as no surprise to me when I found out that the two actors actually had been childhood best friends. But what is really brilliant here is how the politics of Mexico play out between these two boys. While they initially never address the differences in their social class, we do know (via the narrator) that Julio "lighted matched to mask the smell when he used the bathroom as Tenoch's house", while Tenoch "used his foot to lift up the toilet seat at Julio's house." It's a small detail which, in any other movie, might seem like too much information, but here clearly adds a tense layer of economic discrepancy between the two best friends.
The object of their teenage desires is Luisa Cortes, played by the talented Maribel Verdú. While Luisa is an interesting character in her own right and a good motivating force, it's clear that the movie really belongs to the two boys and their intense friendship. I would call it a bromance, but anyone who has seen the movie will know that even that is being polite. Y Tu Mamá También is more than just a good movie, it's a lesson in the art of subtle screenwriting, proper narration, and natural, genuine character development.