Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

Dir. Walter Salles
Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal
7/10

Should You See the Film?

The film is about two friends traveling the length of South America. They go through humorous and difficult situations. The viewer gets to see different people and places in South America. If that appeals to you, go see the film. If you like buddy-pictures, you may like this film (although I didn’t think of it as a “buddy” film).

The movie is almost 2 and a half hours, and may be a bit slow for some. (I thought it was OK in that department.)

Personal Comments

When the trailers came out, I had no interest to see this film, but I read some favorable reviews and one comment, in particular, changed my mind. The critic said something like this movie will change you or something to that effect.
I know very little about Ernesto “Che” Guevara, but I do know that he was a Communist revolutionary in Cuba. This film, based on Guevara’s diaries, chronicles a journey he and a friend took the length of South America.

I saw this movie alone, and it made me think about my own life. Guevara saw the injustices towards the lower classes on his travels; he worked with lepers as well. If I had been him, how would that have affected me?

I wonder if I would be doing what I’m doing, living the way I’m living now. The film made me think about my own life, and the priorities I have. I don’t really want to say much more.

But I will say that I liked how the experiences with poverty, injustice, etc. slowly progessed in a way where you could tell Guevara was changed and in the way to do something about the poor conditions.

Rodrigo De la Serna, as Guevara’s friend, Alberto, played the perfect “sidekick” in the film. His funny and charming performance could earn him a best supporting actor nomination.

Tony
I saw the movie yesterday with the geriatric crowd at Dole Cannery. I was drawn to the Motorcycle Diaries because of the trailer. I don’t know much about South American history, so it was the whole “two guys on a journey” thing that drew me in.

I, too, saw it by myself. And I had a difficult time articulating anything afterwards. I met a friend for lunch after the show and found myself not really wanting to say much of anything. I thought the movie was well-shot and well-acted. I think “the point” was pretty clear. Couple that with some stuff I’ve been thinking on my own and it’s a recipe for thinking about what the heck I’m doing with my life. I thought the final scene at the river was very cool.

I think it would be cool to just up and go on a trip like that (visions of the mainland). But not just to be a tourist, but to allow myself to be changed by the experience. I was reminded some of Donald Miller’s Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance. “We travel just to travel.” Ouch. The scene with the mining couple was pretty potent.

Anyway, good movie. Lots to think about. I now really want to read more of Che Guevara’s story.

Reid
I was at Dole Cannery for the 3:15 movie, Tony. How about you?

I agree with most of your comments. I’d still like to here what you thought the point was though. I did like the scene at the river, too.

You’re not 30 yet, and you’re not married, right? Go do it! I think I just missed my chance for doing something like that.

Tony
I just missed you. I caught the 12:05 of the Motorcycle Diaries. I did go out and buy the book, but haven’t gotten very far into it yet.

Concerning the point of the movie… I’m not sure it’s really obvious. It reminded me of Blackhawk Down (the movie) in so much as it seemed to report the story but not really force you to feel any particular thing. The ending was kind of anti-climactic like that. I think it’s just to show how encounters in life can shape your view of it.

Yes, under thirty and not married. One of these days I’d love to make that kind of trip. Devil’s advocate question: why can’t/shouldn’t a married couple take such a trip? I think it would be just as potent. But I speak from total lack of experience in everything.

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