Gorgeously filmed in auteur vintage black-and-white with cultural vibrancy & a powerful elegiac critique of 1970’s Mexico turmoil on a personal Cuarón-curated semi-autobiographical scale, Roma is one of the decade’s greatest films. 9.7/10.
Plot Synopsis: Oscar winner Alfonso Cuarón delivers a vivid, emotional portrait of a domestic worker’s journey set against domestic and political turmoil in 1970s Mexico.
*Possible spoilers ahead*
Review: Gorgeously filmed in auteur vintage-feeling black-and-white, culturally vibrant, & a powerful and elegiac critique of 1970’s Mexico turmoil on a personal family’s scale, Roma is one of the greatest films of the DECADE. Cuarón has done it again with a poetic, moving semi-autobiographical take on what he saw growing up in the tumultuous social and political time of his homeland.
The visual style and groundbreaking technical work is breathtaking and unprecedented, lifting long-unseen camera profiles from panning to long-tracking shots straight out of film textbooks, as well as crisp cinematography cleverly playing on juxtapostitions of extreme orderliness and balance in everything down to the floor patterns to the chaos of the time, boosted by the decision to go vintage Golden Hollywood-feeling gorgeous black-and-white sleek with auteurism and film history appreciation.
The cultural vibrancy of the location and time-period, as well as the fact it’s a Foreign Language film through and through even forcing non-Spanish speakers to watch through subtitles (as most non-Americans worldwide have to do for Hollywood); it’s extremely refreshing and creates an escapism and authentic glimpse into the Mexican heritage and diversity in every brushstroke by Cuarón.
The personal, Greek tragedy-like, emotionally-resonant, and intimate family-centered storytelling set against the backdrop of this massive-scale political and social turmoil (with horrifying protest/disaster scenes), is incredible too and well-set in its later payoffs, bolstered by some brilliant performances led by indigenous and star-making Yalitza Aparicio as poor Cleo, Marina de Tavira as Sofi, and Jorge Guerro as the downright evil Fermín.
Despite an overlong single-shot opening credits sequence, somewhat finality-lackluster closing shot, and bizarre penchant to for indulging negative (and untrue) stereotypes like the bad female driver and absent father (included twice for good measure! Is it really a modern Hollywood film if they don’t take a few generalizing jabs at men sigh), these are minuscule, overlookable gripes in what is otherwise an absolutely BRILLIANT film.
Easily the best film of 2018, as well as one of the best of the decade, Roma is a masterwork of towering proportions. Gorgeously filmed in auteur vintage black-and-white with cultural vibrancy & a powerful elegiac critique of 1970’s Mexico turmoil on a personal Cuarón semi-autobiographical scale, Roma is a piéta of classic Golden-Age Hollywood feel in a diverse canvas.
Official CLC Score: 9.7/10