Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Mexico, 2001. Anhelo Producciones, Besame Mucho Pictures, Producciones Anhelo. Screenplay by Alfonso Cuaron, Carlos Cuaron. Cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki. Produced by Alfonso Cuaron, Jorge Vergara. Music by Annette Fradera, Liza Richardson. Production Design by Marc Bedia, Miguel Ángel Álvarez. Costume Design by Gabriela Diaque. Film Editing by Alfonso Cuaron, Alex Rodriguez.
Teenage recklessness is given a deserved slap in the face by director Alfonso Cuaron in this warmhearted and unapologetically sexy film. Two high school graduates, Tenoch (Diego Luna), a staggeringly wealthy rebel, and Julio (Gael Garcia Bernal), a more middle-class but equally feckless young man, are faced with a summer full of nothing to do but hang around and smoke up after both their girlfriends go on a summer tour of Europe. When they meet the older, wiser, sexy Luisa (Maribel Verdú), the wife of Tenoch’s cousin, they both act like complete jackasses in order to impress her, and even make a boast about a paradisaical beach that they plan on visiting that they’d love for her to join them at. Not realizing that she is a woman not to be trifled with, they are both surprised one morning when, after a personal tragedy, Luisa decides to take them up on their offer and join them on their trip. The bulk of the film is spent watching this dynamic trio travelling through rural Mexico, talking about their sex lives and getting to know each other in some ways that are not always comfortable for everyone involved. It’s a delight watching this young woman show these rascals up by getting them to put their money where their mouths are when it comes to their sexual bragging. The film is decidedly explicit in content and dialogue, but even the most prurient of viewers will be moved by the beautiful character study of people who hide such longing and depth beneath their swaggering, shallow ways.
The Criterion Collection: #723
Academy Award Nomination: Best Original Screenplay
European Film Award Nomination: Screen International Award
Golden Globe Award Nomination: Best Foreign Language Film
Toronto International Film Festival: 2001
Venice Film Festival Awards: Best Screenplay; Marcello Mastroianni Award (Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna)