Uche’s review published on Letterboxd:
Words fail me.
Cinema is supposed to make you feel, right?
Roma is cinema.
I don't know if there are many other films in the last decade that have affected me quite like this.
After making astounding movies like Y Tu Mamá También, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Children of Men and Gravity, you would think that a director has somewhat reached his peak.
Not Alfonso Cuarón.
With Roma, he has given us his magnum opus.
This film is exquisite and masterful to the point where it is actually hard to believe. I don't even know where to begin in trying to describe the sheer beauty of this film.
Technically, it is astounding. The cinematography by Cuarón himself is to die for. Every single shot is stunning, impeccable and picturesque. Phenomenal camera-work which quietly observes, tracks, pans back and forth and just draws the audience in lovingly. Long takes that wrap you and hold you and demand that you take notice of the precision and attention to detail. You will see a character doing something as mundane as washing the floor and just the way it is captured will make your jaw drop. The way Cuarón tapestries the locales of Mexico City in all of its beauty and imperfections, even in black and white, is truly something to behold.
The editing (also done partly by Cuarón) and sound design are quite flawless too.
Roma is about a middle-class family in Mexico City and their live-in maid/housekeeper and the events that occur with them over the course of a year in the 70s. Written by Cuarón himself, it is without a doubt his best, intimate, most deeply affecting and passionate screenplay yet. The film bleeds with such authenticity in its narrative. Stacked layer upon layer, the character relationships are realistic and profound. Littered all over are little tender and intimate moments which are life-affirming and as human as a motion picture can get. The sheer emotion and humanity in this film are beyond staggering. There is a lot of silence in the film which causes you to read the subtlety to decipher what the characters (Cleo, mostly) are going through.
The performances across the board are phenomenal from Marina de Tavira who plays Sofia and navigates the difficulty of her marriage falling apart to the kids who light up the screen with their effervescent energy. But the beating heart of the film without whom everything would literally not work is Yalitza Aparicio.
A revelation if I've ever seen one.
It is such a shame that she is being quite overlooked in this awards season because her performance in this film is far and beyond one of this year's absolute best.
She is such a raw, subdued and understated powerhouse. A kind, battered soul who makes your heart bleed through all of her endearing highs and devastating lows. Silent and reserved and of few words, but you feel with her. A beautiful, award-worthy performance.
Two scenes that I am sure I will never forget are the hospital and beach scenes. Stunning, evocative, devastating and profound.
There is so much that deserves to be unpacked and talked about with this movie but even with all I've said, I still am at a loss for words.
Such an achingly beautiful work of art which showcases a filmmaker who is in his prime and in complete control of his talent, skill and prowess.
Roma is one for the ages. It is my favorite film of 2018, one of the greatest movies I have ever seen and a pure masterpiece of cinema.
I cannot recommend it highly enough.