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Home movies are a given. And even photographs. By capturing significant moments, we can forever remember the people who have come and gone in our lives.
Roma is a made for Netflix foreign film which soon traveled into theaters and has gained a nomination for Best Picture and even Best Foreign Picture in this year's Academy Awards. Directed by Alfonso Cuaron, who audiences may know as the director of one Harry Potter film, Cuaron commemorates the meaningful and powerful life of his own family servant, Libo, who this film is dedicated to.
A slice of life, Roma is compared to watching a home movie. A very personal film about a family and their servant. Both women are facing difficult challenges where their significant others have left. Ignoring their ethnicity and status, Roma is a very powerful film.
You have to give movies a chance to process. While the credits were rolling I was floating in a mixture of emotions and doubt on whether this film deserves an academy award for Best Picture.
Cleo, performed by newcomer Yalitza Aparicio, learns that she is pregnant. Already taking care of her mistress’s house and four children, Aparicio gives an outstanding performance. And Marina de Tavernia as Sra. Sophia does a splendid job heaving in emotions and learning to accept. The four child actors also did a splendid job! They brought out the comedy in this low key film.
Shot in black and white, the film is slow in pacing and has prolonged camera shots. There are scenes where we’d have to watch Cleo turning off MANY lights, a car trying to perfectly angle itself before driving into a slim garage, and even conversations you wouldn’t expect to hear in a film.
The slow pacing gives Roma an element of surprise. It keeps audiences waiting for what this movie is about. As I was watching with my family, right in the first few minutes, my mom mentioned that all this was going to be was a slice of life. I do agree, but we have to be watching Roma for a reason.
While watching, I realized this film was more about this family who Cleo was looking after, and how they come together to get along and accept changes together. That’s because this was Alfonzo’s childhood. He didn’t know what was going on through his servant’s head.
I only just found out that this was Yalitza Aparicio’s first film and that she had no acting experience prior to Roma! She does a remarkable job selling Cleo’s uncertainty as she grapples to find her own true worth and courage.
Bad things will happen, whether break-ups, loss, or tragedies. Nobody is ever facing life alone. There are so many tender moments in this film that I can feel them. Roma is authentic and genuine. It is tough to watch towards the end due to a gut-wrenching scene.
Roma also gives the viewers a look into life in Mexico. Mostly, how the upper-class lives. In contrast to the poor Cleo, the family still treat her like family.
I was skeptical about watching Roma due to a few negative reviews I have heard. The film starts out slow, but gradually finds its story, and delves into the characters lives. Roma has a powerful character and story-line. Although there were tedious moments that could have been cut, it adds to the realism.
If you would like to watch Roma just know that it is Spanish and that you need subtitles. Viewer discretion regarding nudity is advised for one martial art training scene. And a scene towards the end may cause unsettling triggers for some viewers. Aside from that Roma is a bittersweet and powerful picture that teaches viewers to overcome their fears. Our love for family is one of the strongest love.