Title – Roma (2018)
Director – Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men)
Cast – Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Jorge Antonio Guerrero, Verónica García
Plot – Follows a year in the life of Mexico City maid Cleo (Aparicio) during the early 1970’s as Cleo comes to terms with an unplanned pregnancy, a marriage break up in her employers family and the turbulent climate of her home country.
“No matter what they tell you, we women are always alone”
Review by Eddie on 17/12/2018
Quite simply a considered and beautifully bound together work of art, Oscar winning director Alfonso Cuarón’s black and white love letter to his home country of Mexico is a stunning achievement, a film that at first seems like a small and intimate character study but slowly and assuredly becomes so much more as it encapsulates issues and themes that still resonate strongly today.
Named after a famous district of Mexico city, Roma is set in the early 1970’s and focusses its attention on newcomer Yalitza Aparicio’s young maid Cleo, who finds herself trying to maintain a household around a sad and depressive break-up all the while dealing with the fact she is soon to be a mother herself, to a baby of a father who wants nothing to do with her.
It’s far from the most original set-up but thanks to Cuarón’s masterful delivery of the subject matter and material, Roma quickly shows off why it has been hailed as a genuine threat at next year’s Oscar’s ceremony.
Magnificently captured by Cuarón, who acts as his very own D.O.P here, Roma, with its largely improvised script and cast of unrecognisable faces, is the type of film that over its 130 minutes will begin to feel like something akin to a documentary as we are well and truly transported to this very particular time and place, Roma becoming the type of film that you can smell, feel and touch as Cuarón brings his tale to vivid life.
Accompanied by the sounds and eccentricities of the vividly unique country (Roma is completely bereft of any musical score), Cuarón’s personal film is made alive thanks to its astounding sound and production design as we follow Cleo on a yearlong journey through the turbulent period of Mexico’s history.
It’s one of the most immersive and all encapsulating experiences you will have all year and one that’s deserving of a cinema visit if you can find a local screening, it’s as if you yourself are walking the streets, a fly on the wall in these households as Cuarón brings us into his passionately recreated world.
Roma really is the work of a director operating at the top of his powers, no shot feels wasted, each one framed and shot in a way that comes from the mind of a director who knows exactly what he wants and how he wants it to be and after a run that has included Children of Men, Gravity and now this, it’s safe to say that Cuarón is one of the greatest filmmaker’s working today.
If there was nit-picking to be done with Cuarón awards calibre film, it would be that the film starts off particularly slow, with some viewers likely to be wondering what the point of the whole exercise is but if you can stick it out, Roma morphs steadily into an emotionally engaging and at times heart wrenchingly powerful film, with a last act that is up there with the best filmmaking seen over the last few years.
Final Say –
Look out A Star is Born! Roma has stamped itself as an official Oscar heavyweight, as Cuarón’s film is not only the best film to be released through the Netflix production house, but one of the year’s most unforgettable and magical examples of movie-making.
4 ½ martial arts showcases out of 5