Roma ★★★½

Alfonso Cuarón has made a semi-autobiographical film that feels rich with visual memory, texture, and adoration from a formative moment in Cuarón’s life that is both deeply personal and strangely universal. This is the skill of a poetic artist. 

Roma refers to the area where the story is set in 1971 Mexico. The house used is directly across the road from Cuarón’s childhood home. 

The film focuses on the experiences of Cleo, the household maid and loving nanny to four children of a middle-class family. Many of the incidents, such as the father of the family leaving, are what Cuarón experienced as a child. But naive and good, despite all that befalls her personally, Cleo is our protagonist and hero. 

This film will be too pedestrian and visceral for a broad audience, despite many visually arresting moments - such as Cleo’s boyfriend’s naked martial art theatrics with a shower rod, a student riot that turns terrifying and horrific, a forest fire on NYE, and the final ocean scene that pulls at you like an undertow. 

I can’t stop thinking about it.

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