Ivan Garcia (Armando Espitia) and Gerardo Zabaleta’s (Christian Vazquez) lives as gay men in Mexico during the 1990s isn’t 100% bad. I Carry You With Me use some digressions in depicting moments of levity in their lives. There’s one scene twenty minutes into the film where Gerardo watches his friend, a drag queen slay a number. It shows that LGBT2+ people can thrive in little communities. But homophobia still exists. Ivan is a father, and disclosing his sexuality means that he can lose visitation rights. Even spending time with Gerardo can fuel rumors and destroy them both emotionally and sometimes physically.
This drama conveys a sense of real life while imbuing that with a mix of elegance. In depicting Ivan and Gerardo’s lives before and during their relationship, the film looks cozy and jewel-like. This is the second time this month that I’m watching a Mexican film with cool colors instead of warm ones, which is a welcome change. Real life, then, comes back when Ivan decides to cross the Sonora which almost kills his best friend Sandra. It captures that dangerous journey in darkness. But there’s a sense of optimism with Ivan, hoping to eventually return to his family.
I Carry You With Me also shows that real life, as strange as it is, can give people the chances that they need. A kitchen fight gives Ivan a chance to move up from delivery boy to line cook, and he moves all the way up from there. The drama uses the same color palette during both the Mexico and the US scenes, which is again a subversive choice. As a whole it also mixes things up formally, conveying life’s poetry. I shows how people compromise things to be happy and it shows LGBT2+ people of color striving for better.