Review: Roma

A moment in history.

Roma follows Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) a maid to a wealthy family in Mexico City in the early 70's. Particularly during a life altering event for both herself and the family she serves. 

This has been one of the most talked about films all during awards season. It's appeared on numerous "Best" lists and so many interviews have been given about how close this film is to director/writer/cinematographer Alfonso Cuarón. Despite all of this, I was never really hyped for it. Sure, I wanted to see if after reading all the reviews but the trailer never sold me on it. So I started this film with a bit of a skeptical attitude. 

It actually started off well. Sofia (Marina de Tavira) and Antonio, (Fernando Grediaga) the couple Cleo works for have some marital issues and Cleo herself is facing an unplanned pregnancy with no support after her boyfriend Fermin (Jorge Antonio Guerrero) leaves her like a total jackass. But then the film stops to marvel at itself instead of diving deeper into how the two female leads actually feel about their situations. In the end, it made me feel like Cuaron was more focused on turning his memories of Mexico City in 1971 into this beautiful yet sometimes volatile dreambox instead of considering the actual characters we follow. 

So many shots in this film are beautiful, but they felt shooed in for art lovers. There's a scene where a forest catches fire during a Christmas party, and as a large group of people start to put the fire out, someone randomly walks into frame and starts singing as everything burns behind him. It's a lovely shot but it served no purpose other than aesthetic. The film is littered with moments like this, so when the time comes for things to get serious in the 3rd act, they didn't feel earned because of the lack of time given to them in the first place. The final beach scene, where Cleo finally expresses how she feels about her pregnancy wasn't even concerned about what she had to say. She got a single sentence out, we got the film's money shot of everyone hugging on the beach, then we moved on to the next thing.

I can see how this means a lot to Cuaron, they are from his memories. I can see why this film is so beloved by many on Film Twitter. But for me it didn't work. I wanted to know more about Cleo and her feelings. 

Recommended: No

Grade: C-

Memorable Quote: "I like being dead." - Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio)

6 comments:

  1. I really want to see this as I'm trying to find a proper torrent for this film as it's very unlikely I'll see it in the theaters. It's Cuaron and it's shot in 70mm which I think is the preferred version for people to see the film as it's intended to be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just didn't think it's beauty made up for lack of substance. This one really didn't do it for me.

      Delete
  2. I'll probably won't get to finish this at all. This is my Boyhood this year lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I had to compare the two, this is far better than Boyhood lol

      Delete
  3. Intresting review.

    I think I benefited from going to the cinema to see. I do think we see how Cleo feels in a more show don't tell kind of way. There's so much that goes on in the background that does show this, the subtle acts of racism and sometimes listless way Cleo goes about her chores.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps. I just wasn't picking up on any of that at all. Yes, she's treated as second class but we never hear her own thoughts on it. It was frustrating.

      Delete

If you're reading this sentence you should probably leave a comment.