The Motorcycle Diaries tells the story of an 8,000 mile trip by motorcycle, raft, truck and foot, from Argentina to Peru, undertaken in 1952 by Ernesto Guevara de la Serna and his friend Alberto Granado. Of course Ernesto goes on to become Che Guevara, but we don’t meet the Che who went crazy and was shooting people in the jungle—we’ll have to wait for the Bencio del Toro Che film for that—this is Che Guevara as the romantic rebel who undergoes a life-changing change. At the end of the movie we’re told that Ernesto would go on to join Castro in the Cuban Revolution, and fight for his cause in the Congo and Bolivia, where he died.
A great deal of the appeal of this movie can be attributed to its star, Gael Garcia Bernal (from Y Tu Mama Tambien). He was the resident heartthrob at the film festival in Toronto last year and lends this movie much of its heat.