Roma is a drama that is written and directed by Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity). This feels like a personal movie as Cuaron also co-edited, produced and shot the film. Roma stars Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira. The story follows Cleo, a live-in housekeeper during 1970 to 1971 in Mexico City, when the Dirty War (Cold War) was taking place and tensions were high. This is Netflix’s first film to be nominated for an Oscar. However, Roma received ten nominations at the 91st Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress to name a few.
Story and Character
We follow Cleo, (Yalitza Aparicio) a housekeeper who is treated well by the family she works for. The kids especially like her and treat her as if she is part of the family. We pick up with Cleo living a busy life working as a maid. However, she does have some time for herself. On one of her days off, she meets up with her boyfriend. They have intercourse and Cleo ends up pregnant, which is to her boyfriend’s dismay. She tries to connect with him, however, he makes it clear he doesn’t want anything to do with her or the baby. While looking for a cot, there is a protest outside which turns violent quickly and people start coming into the shop. Cleo see’s the father of the child and her water breaks. She is rushed to the hospital, however, her baby is stillborn, most likely due to the shock and the violence she has endured. Cleo is devastated and becomes sad. However, the family she works for takes care of her. Even though she isn’t part of their family, they treat her like she is.
Sofia (Marina de Tavira) is the mother of the children that Cleo looks after. From the start of the movie, it is obvious her marriage is strained and it isn’t the most loving relationship. Her husband keeps leaving to go to Quebec, however, he does go but not for the whole time and he starts seeing someone else. Throughout the movie, Sofia gets angrier as she realizes her marriage is done. However, she finds solace in her relationship with Cleo.
One of the best scenes in the movie is at the start where everyone is eating at the table together. The kids are talking about how their day was and one of them said they saw a kid get shot in the head for throwing a balloon at a soldier. The kid said this like it was nothing. However, this is something a kid should not see.
The cinematography is this movie is beautiful. Throughout the movie, the use of camera techniques and using imagery to explain certain things has gained the recognition of the Academy Awards as Roma has been nominated for Best Cinematography.
The first shot in the movie lasts a couple of minutes. The shot is the floor with water being splashed on the ground. This is found out to be Cleo cleaning the floor, and the shot lasting so long shows how long her work is in cleaning the house.
Near the end of the movie, two of Sofia’s kids go into water that looks rough. Cleo warns them to stay close as she can’t swim. However, the kids don’t listen, and they start to drown; Cleo runs in to save them. Throughout the movie, water is used many times. This is because the movie is about life and family. Without water, there is no life.
Throughout the movie, the shots are slow and well-paced. This gives us time to take in the beautiful cinematography.
Both Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira are nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, and deservedly so as they are both incredible in this movie. What shocks me more is that Aparicio isn’t even trained in acting. This is her first role and she has already been nominated for Best Actress. Not many people can say that. Both actors haven’t done anything big, but after this movie, expect to see them more.
This movie is slow and might take a couple tries to watch it. However, once you appreciate the cinematography and the acting, you will understand why it has been nominated for ten Academy Awards. However, it is most likely not going to win Best Picture. It will likely win Best Foreign Language Film. Overall, I would say you should watch this movie if you have Netflix. If not, I wouldn’t waste your money just to watch Roma.
© 2019 Calvin Scanlan