Henry Rowlands’s review published on Letterboxd:
London Film Festival: Film #4
Although I am a pretty big fan of Alfonso Cuarón, I admit that at times I feel he sometimes, namely just in his film 'Children of Men' (his highest rated film until now), goes for style over substance, and even though I was hyped for 'Roma', some teensy little pessimistic part of me worried it might be in that vain. Will that part of me died in the first 30 seconds of the film! 'Roma' is truly a spectacular cinematic experience, that covers a widely scoped story of a maid, Cleo, and her wealthy family she works for and cares for. It can be uplifting, funny, beautiful, and also traumatic. Yes for the first time in months and months I cried in a movie, and my lord was some of it unbearably sad and distressing! I swear if Cuarón doesn't at least win the Best Director Oscar this year (out of all the numerous credits he has on this film: screenplay, cinematography, editing) I will break Bradley Cooper's guitar!
I've got nothing against that movie, I'm sure its great and I want to see it very much, but dammit this is Alfonso's Magnum Opus! Truly a masterpiece of filmmaking, a passion project that he pours his heart, soul, and own life into. The black and white cinematography is something to behold, and the world building of 1970s Mexico City is rich, and you can feel Cuarón's emotion and semi-autobiographical familiarity with the setting. Yaltitza Aparicio gives what is a breathtaking performance as Cleo, whose journey is fraught along the way but she remains head high even at the lowest of times. I feel sorry for people who will only experience this on a TV or god forbid a laptop as it is a film you want to witness on the biggest screen possible, but I suppose whats good about its Netflix release is hopefully it means more people will see it. I would say its one of the most important films of 2018, and without a doubt one of the very best (almost my favourite!). I can't really say much more. 'Roma' left me speechless, only breaking the spell to join in with the rousing applause from the audience.