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Rudo y Cursi

Rudo y Cursi (or “Rude and Tacky”) is a 2008 Mexican drama/comedy film. It stars Diego Luna, Guillermo Francella, and Mexican contemporary superstar Gael Garcia Bernal. It is directed by Carlos Cuaron and incidentally the director’s first full-length movie. It was internationally released and distributed by Universal Studios and Sony Pictures Classics.

Plot. The movie is set in the fictional farming village of Tlachtlan in the Cihuatlan Valley of Jaslico, Mexico. Here, villagers live from growing bananas in huge plantations. But for two brothers, their life is not about farming and poverty, for they have a great dream – to be soccer superstars. If fate commands, this dream might also bring fortune and joy to their family.

These two brothers are Tato (played by Gael Garcia) who plays the striker and Beto (Diego Luna) who is the goalkeeper. They play in local soccer matches, and one day, they are spotted by a talent scout (Guillermo Francella) who offers one of them the opportunity to go to Mexico City with him and try out for one of the country’s big teams. As decided, the one who can scores the penalty shot will take the opportunity.  And it is Tato, the younger brother.

Tato has a slow start but soon makes it big. He then earns the nickname “Cursi” (“Tacky”). Eventually, his brother follows him and joins a rival team which gave him the nickname “Rudo” (“Rude”). Life for the two brothers takes a sudden turn. Cursi becomes a national hero and celebrity and starts dating a famous model. Meanwhile, Cursi struggles with his city life and misses his family back home.

Soon, things begin to go worse for them.  Cursi loses his woman, his stardom, and his goal scoring touch while his brother becomes addicted to both cocaine and gambling. It then turns out that the drug world owns everything. Their sister back home marries a local drug lord whose influence affected the whole family. Everything finally depends upon one match as the two brothers face to face.

Cursi is threatened with demotion if he fails to score in the match. For Rudo, he must throw the match in order to pay off his gambling debts, or he will be killed. It is conflicting, but in the end, Rudo saves a penalty from Tato and the match finishes goalless…

As a result, Rudo is shot, losing a leg and ending his career. Cursi also quits football and returns home. Home – in the dirty streets of Tlachtlan with their family and simple life.

Commentary. Despite being a sports film, Rudo y Cursi is a moving story about brotherhood and the circumstances that test its solidity. From the beginning, a certain tension, like a secret jealousy, is manifested between the two, more so when Cursi gets the break and Rudo has to stay home. But Cursi has no malice, as after gaining popularity, he shares the glam light to his brother. Rudo becomes the estranged one, as he struggles to prove himself better than Cursi.

Several challenges come between the two brothers. In the final match, a huge decision has to be made and this would affect their career and life. And the brothers chose a painful decision – one that would shy them away from the spot light, but one that will give them peace and true happiness.

In the final analysis, the movie teaches us that the true core of our life is not centered on things outside of ourselves, but more on honor, love and family.

Reception.  The movie is a huge box office film and has been successful critically and commercially. Presently, it is the sixth highest-grossing film in Mexico.

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