The ebb and flow of the story allows for the moments of terror and emotion to hit their absolute hardest, and the engrossing nature of the rest of the film only enhances that with the utmost prowess
The way Alfonso Cuarón has taken Roma, a story based loosely upon his upbringing in the suburbs of Mexico City, nurtured it, created it and transformed it into one of the most enriching and passionate pieces of pure cinema this decade has seen, is simply incredible. The admiration for Roma as a film has to be paramount, and everything Cuarón has created for the film is not just fascinating, but is in fact, flawless perfection.
Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) is a young woman, making her living as an in house nanny for a middle-class family in Roma, a suburb of Mexico City. But when the father of the family leaves unexpectedly, Cleo is left to pick up the pieces, despite experiencing difficulties in her own personal life which require just as much of her attention.
Before anything else, Roma’s cinematography is some of the most exquisite cinema has ever had to offer. The pivoting cameras tracking movement and minute details is enthralling, almost as if it were a nature documentary, following the lives of a rare species. The cameras act as a window for the audience, a window very firmly placed within the families’ home, and in Mexico City. Roma is a film that doesn’t want to hide from any aspect of its reality; Cuarón is clearly incredibly proud of his upbringing, and accepts both the good and the bad, desperate to show how important this part of the city is to him as a person. Yet this never comes across as an arrogant style, merely one of extreme love.
From the introduction of characters, to the repetitive themes and the earthy script, Roma is a film of unimaginable realism, portraying a vision Cuarón has curated in his mind with unique authenticity. The honesty that gleams and shines from the film is particularly overwhelming at times, transporting all that matters to a place that is often assumed only other-worldly features have the power to. Roma is there to explain life some may never have been able to even sympathise with, let alone empathise in the way Cuarón has implored the viewer to do.
The group mentality of the family, as they push and pull in directions all families do, repeats this nature of authenticity, but rarely can films make it as captivating as Roma does. There’s a love for the mundane, and how extraordinary it can be, that art house films seem to adore, but don’t replicate in such a personal way. The individuality of these daily tasks is what makes the mundane so interesting, and Cuarón has found a way to convert that into an exciting and intriguing cinematic dream.
The acting is similar as no performance is constantly intrusive of the flow the story (bar some truly remarkable moments from first-time actress Yalitza Aparicio), affecting the intricate script Cuarón has produced. This is a level-headed approach to a film that was crying out for calm and assertion to bring focus to the themes he was passionate about promoting. The ebb and flow of the story allows for the moments of terror and emotion to hit their absolute hardest, and the engrossing nature of the rest of the film only enhances that with the utmost prowess.
Roma is truly something special. It is so easy to pick apart, and point directly at its qualities, detailing every element cinema has to offer. It is the perfect example of a vision translated on to the screen, and is tough to deny it as one of absolute perfection. Other films may seem more important, or more revolutionary, but Roma carries out its role with beauty reserved for only the absolute best.
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