RELEASE DATE: November 21, 2018
STREAMING: December 14, 2018
MPAA RATING: R (for graphic nudity, some disturbing images, and language)
The film Roma has been referred to as a cinematic game-changer and is high on the critics’ lists of the Best Films of 2018.
Film auteur Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Y Tu Mama Tambien) brings us a unique look into the life of a domestic worker in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City in the early 1970s as she balances her world with that of the family for which she works. The story is based on true events and characters of Cuarón’s childhood.
Here the director is also writer and producer, and his cinematography is magnificent; every shot is framed like a work of art. The fact that the film is delivered in black and white brings the artistry even more to the forefront. While I could have done without an unnecessary shot of nudity, I find merit in in nearly all other film sequences.
Although the film, which is in Spanish with English subtitles, was released theatrically in November, it is now available on Netflix. This distribution method ensures a much broader audience for the film, which may qualify for best Foreign Language Film as well as Best Picture.
One must also praise the acting talent in Roma, especially that of Yalitza Aparicio who portrays Cleo, the housekeeper who is an essential member of the family. Her understated portrayal is totally convincing, and she excels in some very uncomfortable and realistic plot events.
Cuarón’s cinema verité approach starts somewhat slow but builds interest and empathy throughout. There is good reason it is among the very best films of the year.