Lise’s review published on Letterboxd:
TIFF Film #10
I'm sure this will turn into one of those classics that gets better on subsequent viewings. Extremely slow paced for at least the first half, you have to just sit back and immerse yourself in the family being presented and the focus on the mundane activities of everyday life. You might not be too far off track comparing this to some parts of Jeanne Dielman.
Cuaron shot the film himself after a long pre-production that saw Chivo have to back out due to other commitments. Shot in black and white, it is as gorgeous as everyone says. The attention to detail is lovely. Everything you see is just as Cuaron wanted it to be. Even the dialect had to be perfect, a task which was difficult given that he remembered it being a certain way back in '71 and that's how it had to sound.
The two maids were first-time actors and they did fabulous work here. Everyone did.
The surprising thing is that the film isn't sentimental or self-indulgent at all, which is truly amazing given that it is about his memories and impressions of the world in which he grew up. It isn't about him at all; it is about the maid he loved so much, the town and capturing the feel of the day. And Cuaron manages to make us feel his home life and neighbourhood as it was in '71.
It is such a shame that it will play on Netflix though. If one film should be seen on the big screen this year, this is it.