When their girlfriends head to Europe for the summer, Mexican teens Tenoch (Luna) and Julio (Bernal) gear up for some uninhibited fun. At a wedding, they meet sexy, spirited Luisa (Verdu), who's ten years their senior. Intrigued, the boys playfully invite her along on a road trip to a beach called Heaven's Mouth, ostensibly in Oaxaca, expecting her to decline. Instead, she takes them up on the offer, and the threesome embark on a journey marked by erotic shenanigans and jealousy.
Cuaron's exhilarating story of a Mexican menage-a-trois is certainly steamy and titillating, surely one reason the film performed so well in American theaters. But it also engages closely and intelligently with the class divide in Mexico, epitomized by the jealous contretemps between upper-class Tenoch and the less-privileged Julio for Luisa's affections, and by the crushing poverty they see on their decadent car trip. Capped by a surprise ending we didn't see coming, Cuaron's "Mama" dazzles with superb acting and a stirring storyline that's alternately lighthearted, soulful, and red-hot.