Roma ★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

The thing that stands out about Roma first and foremost is the commitment to intricate mise-en-scène that acts as a formal exercise to recall the significance of Cuarón’s own experiences. The black-and-white cinematography is layered and rich and the camera acts as an observer to events Cuarón himself finds worthy of re-examination. Lead Yalitza Aparicio, who had no previous acting experience before the film, injects the character of Cleo with a real sense of emotional turmoil. I found myself conflicted revisiting this outside of the award season conversation of 2018, as I respect Cuarón’s impulse to draw larger conclusions about class distinctions in Mexico and reconstructing his own memory, but I also found myself underwhelmed by just how small of a net the film attempts to cast given its subject matter. The detachment the wide shots and long takes imbue the film with does create an interesting background for the events of Cuarón's childhood, but also create a separation from the subjects on screen that I found many of the characters and their roles to be a caricature.

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