Tyler Heberle’s review published on Letterboxd:
Had to sleep on this to come up with any sort of coherent thoughts. It’s good in different ways than I expected — its Hollywood epic scale is ultimately just in service of a slice of life narrative for Cleo. Black and white has seldom looked as polished as it does here, conveying a genuine sense of nostalgia for a troubled past. How healthy of an approach is that? It’s hard to say, but Cuaron seems to think that Cleo’s kindness and perserverence are admired in the moment, but ultimately minor in the grand scheme of things, along with her loss and rejection — the number of airplane shots feel like no accident, giving things a surprisingly spiritual vibe.
This is an unusually intimate bit of sprawling cinema, but one that I was thrilled to be a part of. I’m especially taken by its unique spin on Cuaron’s typical beach-set climax — this time it’s based in the characters’ need for closure, rather than a narrative need to reach Point B. Blink and you’ll miss a sudden bout of life or death stakes, followed by a family clinging to each other to make sense of it all. Sequences like that are going to stick with me for awhile.
As a movie based on one man’s memory of a woman who protected and cared for him, this is consistently gripping, even if its emotional and contextual specificity has proven to be a blessing and a curse. It’s certainly a contemplative event movie to follow up GRAVITY with, and I have to admire that.