One of the most talked about movies of the season has to be “Roma,” the latest masterpiece from director Alfonso Cuaron (“Children of Men,” “Gravity”), who shows us the harsh realities of Mexico City during the 1970s. But really he shows us one woman’s point of view-the issues she deals with and the people she takes care of. It’s not what I expected, because it turns out to be even better.
Newcomer Yalitza Aparicio is phenomenal in every way as Cleo, a housekeeper for a family, consisting of the mother Sofia (Marina de Tavira), her husband Antonio (Fernando Grediaga) their four kids (Marco Graf as Pepe, Daniela Demesa as Sofi, Diego Cortina Autrey as Tono, and Carlos Peralta as Paco), and her mother Teresa (Veronica Garcia); and Cleo’ friend and co-worker is Adela (Nancy Garcia Garcia).
Cleo finds out she’s pregnant, and when she tells her martial artist boyfriend Fermín (Jorge Antonio Guerrero), he dumps her. At least, Sofia is supportive of her, while struggling to keep her patience, when her husband’s business trip was nothing but a lie.
“Roma” is a beautiful film about society in Mexico City, and their feelings and environments, but more importantly, it’s about one woman. Cleo is never abused, and she keeps her dignity. Aparicio may claim she isn’t an actress, but she still deserves an Oscar nomination. And de Tavira packs an emotional punch as the mother, who loves her family, as well as her maids.
The movie also features a cavalcade of radiant images. We have forest fires, when the people are grabbing buckets of water; the Corpus Christi protests, when people were getting murdered and injured; and we have an ocean scene, which I can’t spoil, but must say: it’s provocative. To me, the best comes from the opening credits when Cleo is pressing soapy water on the marble floors, while cleaning them. What an intro!
In black and white, the images presented here look magnificent. It captures the tone and scope of “Roma,” and we’re able to resonate with the drama presented here, without going overboard. And when we see a black and white movie like this, we know it’s gonna be epic.
As the editor, producer, writer, and director Alfonso Cuaron has outdone himself in every way possible. As you know, he’s from Mexico City, so he captures the beauty of the city, while introducing us to people we may or may not have seen before. I guarantee you: zero cliches.
Because it’s about foreigners, and their harsh environments and true personas, this is probably the best movie of its kind since “Slumdog Millionaire.”
This needs to be seen…….ASAP!
Now playing in New York and Los Angeles.
Coming to Netflix December 14.