I suppose when approaching a review for Alfonso Cuarón’s Y Tu Mamá También, there’s at least one thing I should get out of the way: I have no interest in the political situations happening in the background. Politics in general don’t hold my attention, so let’s be clear that I see the film for what it is on the surface: a fantastic coming-of-age road trip comedy-drama. It’s not surprising to see Y Tu released on Blu-ray by the Criterion Collection with Cuarón having just won Best Director earlier this year for Gravity. Now you can see what all the fuss is about — or revisit —the sex-filled misadventures of Diego Luna, Gael García Bernal, and Maribel Verdú on August 19.
Set against the backdrop of the end of a 71-year run of Mexican presidents from the Institutional Revolutionary Party, we follow the misspent youth of middle-class Julio (Bernal) and Tenoch (Luna), the son of a high ranking political official. The boys’ girlfriends have just left on a trip to Italy and have no idea what to do with their free time. Before they get too bored with their drugs and alcohol, they meet Luisa (Verdú), the unhappy wife of Tenoch’s cousin Jano (Juan Carlos Remolina) at a wedding. The boys proposition her to join them on a quest to find the fictitious beach known as “Heaven’s Mouth.” After a trip to the doctor and a call from her cheating husband, Luisa decides to set off with the two youths where they all discover more about themselves, and each other, than they planned.
Criterion has delivered a stunning 1080p transfer for Y Tu Mamá También on a 50GB disc, framed in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Grain is always present and thankfully never turns into noise in darker sequences. Blacks are spot on, never turning grey or blue. Detail is exact whether in facial detail, costume designs, cracked stucco, grains of sand, or grassy fields. Depth is exceptional with detail as far as the eye can see, no doubt thanks to Oscar-winner Emmanuel Lubezki’s cinematography. The Spanish 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is no slouch either. Completely free of any anomalies, while front heavy, makes sure that every line of dialogue is crystal clear; something useful when a film is so dialogue heavy. Surrounds kick in when necessary, mostly in the busy Mexican traffic or a breeze coming off the beach. Criterion has even featured a brand new translation for the English subtitles. The disc comes region-locked “A.”
Y Tu doesn’t come filled to the gills with special features, but what is included makes sure we are getting quality over quantity. A two part documentary – “On Y Tu Mamá Tamién” includes a “Then” (10:51) and “Now” (40:53). “Then” features the cast and crew on set during the production, with Cuarón explaining the inspiration of his use of narration during the film thanks to Jean-Luc Godard and how he was tired of teen comedies being romanticized. “Now” is a newly assembled behind-the-scenes with the cast and crew revisiting the film, with Cuarón admitting that after A Little Princess and Great Expectations he considered himself a director-for-hire and decided it was time to finally film the idea he came up with his brother/co-writer Carlos and Lubezki. One of the best anecdotes is when Cuarón jokes that while it may have taken them 10 years to develop the script, it only took them one hour to get stuck in the writing process.
“The Making of the Film” (22:35) is a 2001 documentary narrated by the film’s narrator Daniel Giménez Cacho. Filled with even more production footage, Cacho’s narration is hilarious, making this one of the better features. Three “Deleted Scenes” (3:45) are included: “Manuela,” “Stoned,” and “Whistle.” Philosopher Slavoj Žižek gets his own feature (9:01) as he discusses Cuarón’s manipulation of foreground and background to comment on the film’s political and social context. Carlos Cuarón’s 2002 short film, You Owe Me One, is another hilarious addition depicting a Mexican family with plenty of skeletons in their closets. The short is in Spanish with English subtitles. And lastly, the film’s TV spot (:30) and trailer (2:24) round out the special features.
Y Tu Mamá También may be filled with more sex than even the American Pie series, but this is obviously way better than those. To even mention them in the same review is probably unwarranted, but there’s not much else stateside to compare it to. By now, everyone is probably interested in seeing all of Cuarón’s early work after the success of Gravity. But be warned, this is definitely not in the same camp — even less so for those only familiar with that and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I also haven’t even made mention that Y Tu was nominated for Best Screenplay; something Cuarón has finally made up for with his win for Best Director. Y Tu Mamá También is a must own Blu-ray featuring stellar audio/video and the typical plethora of Criterion special features.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00KE3B8HC][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00H83EUL2][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00H83EV5W][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B001YV502C][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B008UZ7N3E][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B000H5U5R6]