ROMA

RATED-(R)-135-MIN-2018

                                                    ROMA is another masterpiece from Alfonso Cuarón

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Like a poem of not only memories but specific feelings from his own childhood growing up in Roma, a middle-class section of Mexico City in the early seventies, Alfonso Cuarón 's (Roma) is a beautiful film. It is now playing on Netflix. Give it some time, as for many, it may be a bit slow in the beginning, but stay with it and you will be rewarded with a rich, warm, and vibrant film. Shot in a beautiful black and white digital format, the bigger the screen and the better a sound system you watch it in, will help immensely because Cuarón fills every inch of the visual and audio completely. It is crucial to the watching of this movie.

The noisy and bustling home of the family we observe in this movie, are for the most part seen from the surface. We know that mom Sofia (Marina de Tavira) and the often absent doctor dad Señor Antonio’s (Fernando Grediaga)  are having marriage issues that they try and keep from the kids. There are four children: three young boys and a girl, and a loving and doting grandmother. There is a dog, who only seems to bark and poop all over the walled in the carport of their home, which has to be hosed down frequently and is how we begin the film in a closeup of the sudsy water.

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Then, there are the two Mixteco maids  Adela (Nancy Garcia) and the focus of the film: Cleo (a glowing Yalitza Aparicio who is not a professional actress). They go about their daily chores of cooking, cleaning and getting the kids ready for school without saying but a few words. They really are part of the family, and as we see, the children's primary caregivers. The parents are dealing with their own problems.

Outside the walls of the home, the city is alive with marching bands, street vendors, students protesting (which will become very important later in the movie), and many other colorful citizens who occupy every inch of this great filmmaker's palette. There are very few moments in the film where music or a broadcast of some sort is not playing, whether it be from a scratchy portable radio, a TV, in the car, or from the streets outside. It is a feast for your senses and taps some kind of collective memory recall I think that Cuarón is trying to convey. These are things we remember. it really is wonderful what he does here.

Cleo and Adela may have dreams, but they are small, like meeting a boy or going on a date, which they do later, to the big movie house where everyone goes. Cleo and her date: the restless and lost  Fermin (Jorge Antonio Guerrero) decide to skip it and head off for a more intimate setting. After they have slept together, Fermin, in the full buff, demonstrates the moves he is learning at some training camp he has enlisted in. You learn more about that later. Fermin leaves Cleo without saying goodbye  Cleo almost always the quiet observer now has become pregnant and tells Adela she is worried that she will lose her job as a caregiver if they find out. Back at the house, Dad, who has gone on many trips to Canada, has left for good, so things aren't going well there.

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Sofia tells Cleo she has nothing to worry about. They need her. The fractured family, and the obvious lack of responsibly that some of the men in this film have shows you which side Cuarón is on. When Sofia tells Cleo, after coming home drunk and trashing Antonio’s huge Ford Galaxy in the narrow carport on purpose, that "We are alone. No matter what they tell you, we women are always alone" it is heartbreaking on so many levels. These women were abandoned and they only have each other and they will stick together. When Cleo visits the camp where Fermin is now training and he tells her never to see him again, it is another gut punch to this lovely soul who takes another shot with quiet dignity, rather than acting out in rage.

Life is random, and when the grandmother takes Cleo to the city to shop for cribs for her new baby, Roma picks up its pace, and the third act is just stunning in its power of emotion. With just one little life that Cuarón has pointed out and focused on, each one could affect us this much, if we just stopped and took a moment to observe in this chaos we call our lives. I consider (Gravity) and (Children of Men) to be masterpieces, and this is another one from the great filmmaker and storyteller Alfonso Cuarón.

You should see this movie

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Watch the trailer :