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ROMA Review: A Cinematic Achievement & 2018’s Best

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There are very few directors who can craft a piece of filmmaking that defines the word ‘special.’ It’s very rare to find these types of films in cinema nowadays. These are ones that touch you or have your jaw dropping to the floor. That’s not to minimize or discount any other directors working today, because there have been some amazing and incredible pieces these past few years. It’s to say many haven’t reached that standard for myself.

However, director Alfonso Cuaron finally breaks that mold and creates something truly special in the form of his latest film “Roma.” The film stars Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Marco Graf, Daniela Demesa, Enoc Leano and Daniel Valtierra. It is directed, produced, written, shot and edited by Alfonso Cuaron, who has directed both 2006’s “Children of Men” and 2013’s “Gravity.” So, how was the film? Let’s talk about it.

Photo taken from Netflix
Yalitza Aparicio enters in her acting debut. Her central performance was widely praised by many critics and festival members.

To give you an idea of the story, “Roma” is a semi-biographical take on Cuaron’s upbringing in Mexico City in the early 1970s. It follows the life of a live-in housekeeper, Cleo, (played by Yalitza Aparicio) and the middle-class family she works for.

“Roma,” in a single word, is ‘remarkable.’ It is an absolute triumph for both Cuaron and for modern-day cinema. There are so many outstanding achievements this film carries, which we’ll discuss right now.

The first of the many positives come from Aparicio and the supporting cast. This marks Aparicio’s film and acting debut. She has no background or formal training in acting before getting cast in this film. With that being said, her performance is absolutely brilliant and is, in my opinion, the best singular performance of the entire year.

Photo taken from Netflix
This film is considered Cuaron’s most personal and passionate project. His previous work included “Children of Men” and “Gravity.”

Her character is rich in emotion, depth and absolutely mesmerizing to watch. She goes through a complete character transformation and arc that is highly emotional and powerful. She starts out as someone bright and happy and then takes on a completely different persona towards the end of the piece. Aparicio has a big and bright future in Hollywood. Also, the supporting cast was all around great and complemented Aparicio’s character and performance. The bond between Aparicio’s character and the family felt very genuine and raw in the presentation.

The second outstanding aspect is the direction from Cuaron. When watching the film, it shows greatly that the director had a huge passion and love for what he was crafting. He was in complete control and command of what he was creating and telling; both literally and artistically. He found a great balance in focusing on the family and providing a look into the time frame as well.

Photo taken from Netflix
The film balances many different themes; ranging from friendship to family. It was a semi-biographical take on the director’s upbringing in Mexico City during the 1970s.

The idea of having it presented in black-and-white format was a great artistic decision and enhanced the tone and atmosphere.

The way Cuaron tells his story is immersive and powerful. Its narrative presentation is raw and real. The viewer will immediately be absorbed into the world Cuaron has established and never finds themselves bored. Cuaron was able to find perfect timing for providing a viewer a look of what Mexico City was like during this time through his own eyes and perspectives.

“Roma” is a cinematic achievement and a well-crafted piece of filmmaking. It is a masterpiece of work and is easily the best of 2018. It presents a beautifully told narrative, incredible performance from Aparicio and a well-made, personal, grounded piece that will stand the test of time for years to come.

“Roma” is available now for streaming and viewing on Netflix.

“Roma” Overall Score:10/10

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ROMA Review: A Cinematic Achievement & 2018’s Best