Film

Roma

Alfonso Cuarón delivers an outstanding film about life, love, and loss

5/5 stars

There’s always some hes­i­ta­tion on my part to watch films that aren’t in Eng­lish. Sur­pris­ing­ly, that even extends to Span­ish (even though I’m tech­ni­cal­ly flu­ent). I feel I’m not always able to make a con­nec­tion with the sto­ry and char­ac­ters. Roma is no such film, and I was cap­ti­vat­ed for its com­plete 135-minute runtime.

Alfon­so Cuarón, who direct­ed, pro­duced, wrote and edit­ed this film, made some fan­tas­tic and bold choic­es. Roma is entire­ly in black and white. With­out col­or, cin­e­matog­ra­phy, writ­ing, and the actors’ per­for­mances become that much more critical.

This cast ris­es to the chal­lenge. All the kids are great, but the obvi­ous stand­out is Yal­itza Apari­cio. I’m astound­ed that this is her first role. She’s so expres­sive. You see the char­ac­ter’s love, anguish, fear, and loss so clear­ly on her face that you can’t help but be moved.

Edit­ing is some­thing I don’t usu­al­ly notice, but you can’t help but do so here. Cuarón and Adam Gough give scenes plen­ty of space, which is a tech­nique I often see in nar­ra­tive-dri­ven pod­casts. This space is a sto­ry­telling method which allows for the infor­ma­tion to sink in, there­fore giv­ing the audi­ence time to fig­ure out how they feel.

Fur­ther show­ing Alfon­so Cuarón’s genius is his incred­i­ble vision for the cin­e­matog­ra­phy. Many beau­ti­ful shots help you see and under­stand Mex­i­can life. Some scenes depict the stark con­trast between the lives of this mid­dle-class fam­i­ly, their friends, and every­one else.

The end­ing is the final touch of bril­liance for the film. Hol­ly­wood is so obsessed with but­ton­ing every­thing up—giving every movie a hap­pi­ly ever after. Life isn’t like that. Life is dif­fi­cult, and some­times there’s noth­ing we can do to change our cir­cum­stances; we have to try to make the best of our cur­rent ones.

Roma is a must-see film.