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Film Review: Roma (2018)

Roma (2018) is a drama directed by Alfonso Cuaron, and this film is a co-production from the United States and Mexico, so a majority of the film is spoken between Mexican and Spanish. Described as a semi-autobiography of Cuaron’s upbringing in Mexico City, this film follows the life of a housekeeper working for a middle-class family in the 1970s. This is a film that has been distributed on Netflix, and is getting a lot of attention from the awards season, with it looking like it will get in for Best Picture at the Oscars this year.

Roma (2018) – source: Netflix
This is Cuaron’s passion project, and there was so much care that went into this film. Every shot and scene that are in this film feel relevant and important to the story, and this comes from the craft of a talented director. Cuaron directs, writes, co-produces and does the cinematography for this film, and in every step it works perfectly. This is a gorgeous film from the opening credits to the end credits, and the black and white only enhances the beauty that is seen on the screen, and helps you focus on the characters rather than the setting.
You would not expect that the cast are all new and upcoming actors, but they are. The quality of the performances here are outstanding, particularly from Yolitza Aparicio as Cleo. Aparicio should be getting recognition for her role in awards season, but sadly she doesn’t seem to be getting those nominations. Her performance is completely captivating and very nuanced, all the way up until the last third which becomes completely demanding . She still delivers throughout and is completely believable in the role.
What helps the new actors in their roles is that these characters written by Cuaron are completely human. They feel like real people, who have flaws and personality. They have immense characterisation, from the parents and the children down to the love interests. Everyone in this film feels like a real character, and because of that you feel invested in the story and are taken into this world that Cuaron was raised up in.
Roma (2018) – source: Netflix
This film tells a very simple story, and it could get boring after a while. However, it doesn’t. This film is crafted to tell a story in sections, and have a big theme of family and love weaving in throughout all of the themes and story lines. There is one darker story lines that revolve around Cleo and Fermín and without spoiling any aspect of it, I was captivated by the story and your heart strings will be pulled by it. Great acting and performances by both of the actors help push this story line through and is beautifully heartbreaking.

I also loved the family aspects that are talked about throughout the film, particularly with the family of the housekeeper. This family is completely caring to their housekeepers and it is so lovely to see the family dynamic include Cleo and see how they evolve throughout the film. This film also shows how not every family is perfect and shows the struggle of making a family work, which is something that is still a big conversation to this day. There will never be a time where every family works out, and that is the sad reality of the world whether it is 1970 or 2019.

It does take a bit of time to get into this film. The beginning is very simple and the style is so different from the clean and simple editing style makes it hard to get on board at the beginning, but by about the 30 minute point you will get sucked into this film. It almost felt like it was style over substance at the beginning, which I was worried about. However, the story kicks in and you get emotionally attached, and the simple stylistic choices that are made only helps the narrative drive to an emotional impact.

Roma (2018) – source: Netflix
I will be incredibly happy if this picks up a few awards at the Oscars this year. As of right now, this is easily the best directed film I have seen out of the contenders and Cuaron deserves to get recognition for the hard work he has put into this film. This is a beautiful tale and a film that will hold up for generations to come. It is available worldwide on Netflix, so it is easy to access and watch whenever you can. Please support this foreign language film and watch it.

Have you seen Roma yet? Did you fall in love with the movie as much as me, or are you wanting to check it out?

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