Matt Thomas’s review published on Letterboxd:
Given the hype I was expecting so much more.
It's beautifully lit and shot, of course. And the steady camera pans draw you into scenes in an immersive way (although it's a technique which becomes overused and predictable).
Newcomer Yalitza Aparicio gives a very natural and raw performance which may sadly get lost in the awards noise directed towards the more technical nominations. But the truth is that the flair we've seen Cuarón demonstrate many times before is lacking and the plot is rather one dimensional.
Don't get me wrong - this is better made than the majority of films out there this year. It just, oddly, isn't quite enough.
Ultimately, and I fully appreciate how dismissive this sounds, I just felt that 'riots in the background of social drama' films have been done before and better (eg The Dreamers). Cuarón has incredibly made only 3 feature length films in the last 12 years! You would think that having that amount of downtime would produce more profound results, particularly in a screenplay.