I am a huge fan of Gael Garcia Bernal, and I bought "The Motorcycle Diaries" based on my faith in his acting. I'd certainly heard of the film, but I wasn't quite moved to go see it in the theater.
I have had a chance to see it, and I thought it was an excellent coming of age film. It focuses on the trip through South America that Che Guevara ("El Fuser") took with his friend Alberto Granado. Though I am not one of those Guevara devotees (and many of them usually know not much more about the man than the fact that his image is on a tee shirt), I can respect his desire to see and better understand the larger world. And as history shows, that trip was impactful for him (supply your own judgments regarding his subsequent activities here).
I have longed to feel that sort of travel inspired transformation in my life. I've been blessed with opportunities to visit a solid part of the country, exploring historic sites, talking with locals about the histories of their communities. Yet, I have never done a real tour of the United States. I certainly recognize that there may still be patchy places in the U.S. for an African American to visit, but after my travels thus far, I am convinced that the overwhelming majority of us are basically decent folk.
Critics of "The Motorcycle Diaries" have called it a love letter to the continent of South America. I would have to agree with that assessment. The scenery is stunning, from the snow-capped peaks of the Andes, to the wide expanse of the Amazon. By the conclusion of the film, I was ready to pack my bags and retrace the path that Guevara and Granado took. Beyond that, the music of the film seemed to encapsulate the beauty that emerges on screen. Gustavo Santaolalla deserves much of the credit for the original compositions heard on the film.
All of this is a long and drawn out way of saying check out "The Motorcycle Diaries." It was worth the time.