After watching this movie on my couch (more on that in a bit) I could hardly move after I finished it. I was, as the kids would say, shook. I had heard of the magical nature of Alfonso Cuaron’s incredible personal story, but I still was skeptical how much I would enjoy a black and white foreign film. I enjoyed this immensely , and I hope people can take the time to put their screens down to take in the majestry of this movie.
The main reason I watched this on my couch was because this movie was released on Netflix (and a very very few theaters) and it was an experiment to try and get Netflix their first Best Picture nomination, which they did. I am happy this is on Netflix because many more people will watch it than if it was in a theater.
Roma is a story about a young maid in Mexico, who deals with pregnancy, and working for a family going through a divorce. Cuaron has said this is all based on memories of his childhood in Mexico. The camera work is so brilliant and so hard to describe I can only show you this and try to show the panning of each scene that makes it feel so real.
Every scene could be dissected and taught in film classes because it is a master in his prime at work. Think Lebron vs the Pistons, MJ vs. the Jazz, and whoever else you want to use for the metaphor (I did not want to think too hard) to show what this was for Cuaron. He is a massive betting favorite to win his second Oscar for Best Director and it would be a shock if he lost.
Yalitza Aparicio plays Cleo the maid and this is her very first movie as an actress. She has been a teacher in Mexico and Cuaron found her and thought she looked the part. No one could have predicted the solemness and power she brings to her character. The movie is overall about the family but she is the breakout star of this.
Another notable performance was Marina de Tavira who played the mother of the family Cleo works for. She was great, bouncing back and forth from being a mother, helping Cleo with her pregnancy and dealing with her divorce at the same time. I was very impressed every time she was on the screen.
Yes there are times when it is a bit slow and wears on you; however, I truly cannot say enough about what Cuaron did on this movie, the long shots, the fact that it was black and white the whole time and still interesting, and the realness of the entire movie. Truly incredible!
*A couple other tidbits
- Be ready there is a naked man doing martial arts that comes out of nowhere
- The kids are all great in this movie in the parts they play.
- Why did they keep the car they had?
This is an incredible piece of art, and that might not be for everybody. It is not going to get your blood pumping, or make you want to rewatch it immediately. But this is as well made as it gets, and should win Best Picture at the Oscars.
*As always you can find all of my movie ratings here.