Dear diary: motorcycles are hard, but the truth is harder

The Motorcycle Diaries plays this weekend in the Woodland Theater

Dear diary: motorcycles are hard, but the truth is harder


Story by Brian Sheridan, Staff Writer

“The Motorcycle Diaries” reminds me of the naive explorations I undertook as a kid. I’ll cut and bruise myself, but I’ll know so much more about my own little world.

This foreign movie takes a look at young and hopeful Che Guevara, a famous guerrilla leader and notable figure in the Cuban Revolution. However, the film is set before he was known by that name, and is merely a boy named Ernesto.

The story follows Ernesto, played by Gael Garcia Bernal, and his hilarious, quick-witted  sidekick Alberto Granado, Rodrigo De la Serna.

The year is 1952. The two of them are taking an 8,000 kilometer journey from Buenos Aires to Venezuela to explore lands they’ve only read about. Along the way, Ernesto discovers less about the land and more about himself and his true calling in life.

My first thoughts on watching a film about Che Guevara didn’t exactly enthuse me. And it’s foreign and possibly about politics I know nothing about? I was already in bed, ready to pass out.

After watching it, I was pleasantly surprised at the film’s story, watchability and how I even caught myself laughing hysterically at times.

IMDB rates this movie as a 7.8 and I couldn’t agree more. While the film doesn’t leave much to ponder, “The Motorcycle Diaries” makes a foreign story more watchable and entertaining than most I’ve seen.

Though it is nice and easy to watch, it’s a little too easy to watch. The metaphors and symbolism are blatantly announced by Ernesto throughout the film and didn’t leave me with much to dissect.

Ernesto is narrating most of the story through letters he is writing to his mom. His letters are incredibly poetic and loving in a world of hate and sadness, which sounds even more dreamy as a foreign language.

I was really able to see who Che Guevara was as a person through this film. As a man who cared passionately about his people, the film portrays the people he encounters as exciting and dynamic, while the newfound land he explored actually seemed dull.

Along his journey, his partner Alberto offers a wonderful contrast. While Ernesto is honest, selfless and more stoic, Alberto is energetic, mischievous and has the libido of a 15-year-old boy.

However, they are both equally awful at driving a motorcycle.

They both have something to discover in the 8,000 kilometers. Neither of them are doing this trip because it would be a remarkable accomplishment. The entire trip is about their paths in life, each discovering where they must go and when they should turn.

The film as a whole can be exciting and it can be bland. There are a lot of emotions to be felt and a lot of stories to look at.

“The Motorcycle Diaries” is a decent film to watch even if you know absolutely nothing about Che Guevara, much like me. I was caught off guard at how much I genuinely enjoyed watching Ernesto’s journey.

The film can be seen 7 p.m. April 24 and 25, with a 2 p.m. showing April 25 and 26 at the Woodland Theater.