Roma is the new film by Gravity and Children of Men director Alfonso Cuaron and is also a new Netflix production and takes place in 1970-71 in Mexico and concerns a maid named Cleo (Yalitza Apiricio) as she cares for a family in that city and her own journey within it.
Roma is very well made which isn’t a huge surprise given Mr Curaron’s skill as a craftsman but as much as I enjoyed the film and I did I would also say that I find myself admiring it more than I love it but there are 2 huge positives going for it:
- The first of those is Curaron’s direction and camera work, yes he does a lot of those signature tracking shots that he used to great effect in Children of Men and Gravity but their always worth a watch and they always take your eye on a journey of all kinds of little details that most edits would probably leave out feeling a need to go from one scene to the next, Curaron served also as cinematographer and he does a great job with the black and white photography as well.
- The second is Ms Apiricio’s performance, she is wonderful in this film and she does so much with just her body language alone with the looks she gives, the way she walks around and the expressions on her face that do a lot of the emotional heavy lifting without needing to say much dialogue and the film works best when the focus is purely on her.
And here is where the film faulters for me I’m afraid and yes I have some well one mainly and that is the use of the 2.35:1 aspect ratio and look this is a great looking film but there are a lot of times in this movie for me where the 2.35 ratio kept pulling back from the central intimate nature of this story and when you think back on Children of Men which was shot in 1.85:1 the film worked beautifully allowing the human story to shine element admist the dystopic spectacle that film also created.
And also the use of the 2.35 ratio tended to push Cleo to the background and away from the central focus of the film and for me I wanted her to be that central focus as its where the film works best but most of the time she has her scene and then she’s pushed away to focus on the streets and the people and those scenes are good but I didn’t really get into them as much as it felt like the background coming to the foreground to a certain degree.
And so that was Roma and look the film is good and worth watching but I also wish I had gotten to see it before the hype machine got a hold of it as I feel that as much as I like it it did fall short of that hype to a certain degree still it gets a 3 and a half out of 5.