Whether he's singing emotional lyrics or starring as a historical figure, the following movies and shows are just a few examples of why Gael is one of Mexico's most valuable gems.
From portraying an eccentric yet charismatic conductor of an orchestra to depicting a young man in love and moneyless, Gael García Bernal has proven his acting skills throughout his career.
Whether he's singing emotional lyrics or starring as a historical figure, the following films and shows are just a few examples that show Gael’s talent, going from comedy-drama to the psychological genre.
1. The Motorcycle Diaries
This 2004 biopic is a coming-of-age story in which Gael García stars as a young Ernesto Guevara, who would later become Che Guevara, the renowned revolutionary Marxist and guerrilla leader.
The Motorcycle Diaries is about the journey and written memoir of Guevara based on his expeditions across South America, originally by motorcycle, alongside his youthful friend and traveling companion, Alberto Granado.
Both the film and Gael’s performance of the iconic figure were praised by the critics, such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. He earned a standing ovation at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and was even nominated for best actor at the 2005 BAFTA Awards.
2. Amores Perros
Amores Perros is a dark drama directed and produced by the Academy Award winner Alejandro González Iñárritu. In this 2000 movie, Gael García portrays one of the main characters whose story is linked with others by a car accident.
Octavio, played by Gael, is the owner of a rottweiler named Cofi. He happens to be in love with his brother’s abused wife, Susana and offers her to run away with him to start a new life together.
The film is considered within the genre of psychological drama for its strong themes, such as violence towards animals and other people, as well as the inequality of the city’s class divisions.
3. Mozart in the Jungle
This American comedy-drama streaming television series can be found on Amazon Prime. Gael García stars as Rodrigo, the new conductor of the New York Symphony. His character is based on the life of the Venezuelan violinist and conductor, Gustavo Dudamel.
Mozart in the Jungle was developed by Roman Coppola, son of Francis Ford Coppola, Jason Schwartzman, Alex Timbers, and Paul Weitz. It was based on Blair Tindall's 2005 memoir that depicts part of her professional career, like when she played with the New York Philharmonic. What made this show stand out was the representation of women in the classical music industry, something that tends to be forgotten.
In 2016, Gael won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a TV Series— Musical or Comedy. He was nominated for the same category the following year.
4. Y tu mamá también
This film was directed by another acclaimed Mexican director: Alfonso Cuarón. Y tu mamá también is a 2001 coming-of-age and road trip movie that had the acting talents of Gael García, Diego Luna, and Maribel Verdú.
It’s about two teen best friends, who embark on a journey with a woman on her late twenties. At the time, the film’s depiction of adult themes caused some controversy with its rating. Yet, Cuarón’s movie managed to be a success on its first weekend. So much so that it broke a record for the highest box office opening in Mexico in 2001.
Gael and Luna's performances were acclaimed by the critics, and the film was nominated for the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and the BAFTA. It won an Independent Spirit Awards for Best Foreign Film.
In 2017, Gael lent his voice for Pixar’s award-winning movie, Coco. The animated movie was inspired by one of Mexico’s most celebrated traditions: The Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos). It follows the story of Miguel, a boy who’s an aspiring musician although any type of music is forbidden by his family. The dynamic between Héctor, Gael’s character, and Miguel is moving as it reveals their inner concerns and demonstrates the true meaning of family love. Also, we get the opportunity to hear Gael sing Hector’s authentic version of “Remember Me,” which he reprised at the Academy Awards.
6. The Crime of Padre Amaro
The Crime of Padre Amaro also caused controversy in Mexico upon its release. It had to do with the fact that it depicts the newly ordained Father Amaro's infatuation with a young woman, Amelia. As the film goes, we follow the priest's struggle between desire and obedience. Gael was in charge of playing Father Amaro.
Despite an attempt of stopping the film's screening in the country, The Crime of Padre Amaro succeeded in Mexico's box office and was nominated for best foreign language in the Academy Awards and Golden Globes.