In this era of reality-obsessed film and television, it came as quite a shock that The Motorcycle Diaries has nothing to do with either leather chaps, burly biker-boys or roaming the Midwest in search of a brawl. As it turns out, Diaries is a cute flick about travel for travel's sake and the self-discovery that inevitably follows. The film is based on the journals of Cuba's revolutionary leader Ernesto "Che' Guevara (Gael Garcia Bernal). In his journals, Guevara describes his '50s journeys with buddy Alberto Granado through various parts of Central America. Granado's book, Traveling with Che Guevara, was also used as reference material for the film.
After encounters with poverty, sickness and the struggles of the common man, the adventurous nature of the excursion takes on a more serious tone. Inspired by interaction with communists, indigenous peoples and the patients of a leper colony, a young Guevara begins to alter his political beliefs.
Despite occasional corniness, such as the slogan "let the world change you and you can change the world," and a few black and white montages, Diaries is worth checking out. The pre-revolutionary story of Guevara is rarely told. And besides, don't you always feel like you've learned something when a film has subtitles?