'Roma': A Film Review

Updated on December 17, 2018
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We are the LA Film Institute, and if you love films as much as we do, then this is the place for you.


Roma proves that film is art!

The last time we saw director Alfonso Cuaron, he won an Oscar for his visually stunning work in the movie Gravity. He has also directed the cult classic film, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and last but not least, Children of Men. Which is considered one of the best science fiction films of the new millennium. Yet, with his latest movie, 4 years removed from his last, Roma is something deeper, more grand in scale in terms of emotion, and visually rich as if looking back at old photographs of a time and people that are now long gone.

Roma tells the story from the perspective of a young maid named Cleo, as she takes care of an upper middle class family during 1970's Mexico.

A personal film for Alfonso Curaon, Roma is semi-autobiographical as he wrote this story about his own life, and the personal bond he had with his nanny who took care of his family when he was growing up. In this this film, he examines his country at a time rarely seen on film. Yet, it is undeniably relatable, tender, and frightening. From domestic grief, abandonment, love, and political turmoil, Roma is raw and pure. In almost every scene, I couldn't help but to think back at my own life, and I was amazed at how many memories, good and bad, this movie had brought up.

I could pinpoint an event in the movie and say, "I have seen that happen to someone," or, "That happened to me!" It was an incredible feeling, one that few films have done.

Shot in digital black and white, you are transported back in what feels like a memory. It is no longer the present, it is now history.

Stripped of any distractions, bright colors of the period, and style, black and white helps you focus on the emotion of the characters and nothing else, while still providing a pleasing palate to stare at. Crisp, clear, and artful. Every single frame is perfect. No matter how far into the future we go, there will always still be a need to see a picture, or a film in black and white. It is a film I wish was playing in every single theater on the biggest screens possible. Instead of the big, loud and nauseating movies, Roma proves that film is still art, and it should be seen by all who can appreciate it.

I had made the same case for last years best picture winner, The Shape of Water. A film that was regulated to the back of the theater on the tiniest screen because Star Wars: The Last Jedi had dominated all the larger ones.

Netflix once again gives filmmakers creative freedom to create their own passion projects, as is the case with this one and many others. While major studios continue to churn out comic book movies, although I did enjoy Black Panther, or turn old childhood cartoons into "live action" extravaganzas which thrives purely on nostalgia to trick you into buying a ticket, I have to be okay with only watching these excellent films, like Roma, from my couch and not on the silver screen. Now I know, streaming at home does have it's advantages. I don't have to drive, spend money at the theater on food and drinks, or deal with crying kids, but as a purest, there are certain films I want to watch on the big screen, or I wished I had seen on the big screen. Times are changing, and although it can be scary, change is inevitable.

Like the family in Roma, life goes on, nothing will ever be the same, but we'll have all new adventures together. 5 out of 5 stars.


Have you seen Roma? What did you think?

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