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  • johnofardeal24 January 2019
    Warning: Spoilers
    I get why the numerous nominations and I get why some people were disappointed by the lack of storytelling.

    First things first - the cinematography is stellar and poetic. You could pause the movie every 5 seconds and get a stunning photograph. The long takes simply got me.

    Secondly - yes, there is no epic story here. And you know what? That's exactly how things are in life. This is what this movie is all about - the silent drama of the boring lives we, normal people, go through as we sit on time's sidelines. In the grand schemes of things, we don't matter. Just as Cleo's drama doesn't matter to anyone except her. She's all alone with her struggles, just as we all are.
  • This movie is great if you like, nay, if you love camera panning. There is so much panning, it's truly fantastic. Very artistic. 90 degrees, 180 degrees, once even 450 degrees!! Oh and tracking also. Panning and tracking, tracking and panning, panning and tracking galore. And just when you think "wow, this panning has been so great and so abundant, they can't possibly squeeze in any more!" well, right at that moment you're in for a treat. No spoilers, you will need to see for yourself what treat I mean. Oh, there's also a story in there somewhere about a middle class family in the Mexico in the 70s, marital problems and a Mixtec indigenous live-in household help. But I truly don't think any of that is really relevant to the movie, at least not as much as the panning.
  • The story of Cleo and her 'family' might hit a sensitive chord for many viewers who grew up not just in Mexico but in any Third-World country, maybe not just in the 70s but probably the 80s or early 90s.

    By no means am I depriving the story from its cultural core but it was Roger Ebert who said: "The more specific a film is, the more universal, because the more it understands individual characters, the more it applies to everyone." Still, it's not just about the characters, I could relate to the context as well on a superficial but still deeply personal level.

    Coming from a middle-class family of Morocco, we also had these girls who came from poorer backgrounds (generally rural areas) and whose treatment would look a bit like slavery from a European/"Western" standpoint. The term wouldn't be appropriate though as they were paid, certainly not mistreated and in most cases were considered like members of the family. Not all the ladies of the house treated them with respect but they were often loved by the kids as sister-figures or even surrogate mothers. I was practically raised by the same 'dada' from the age of 4, she dressed me, woke me up, cleaned me till I was 8 (my daughter does it alone since she's 3) and well, she was part of my life and I miss her a lot.

    I could relate to the story of Cleo and I was glad that the film didn't take the predictable "clash of the classes" path: having her fired, being rejected or ending as a prostitute in some brothel of Mexico City... Cuaron is above these tiresome archetypes and his intention is clearly to take the opportunity of a nostalgic voyage through his childhood to show people with a strong capability of caring and being empathetic regardless of their origins or social backgrounds. And Cleo, played with mesmerizing naturalness by Yalitza Aparicio, is obviously a girl to inspire the very feelings she exudes: she loves the children she saw growing up since the cradle, she's devoted to her "Signora" Sofia, played by Marina de Tavira, and she values her luck to be part of that world... she knows she could have been unluckier.

    It's also interesting that Cleo isn't conventionally good-looking, not in a glamorous Hollywood sense anyway, and her petite frame and youthful face illuminated with a wide smile accentuate her vulnerability. She incarnates a sort of third world within the third world, like an extra layer of fragility making her the perfect target for the kind of troubles no upper class European looking girl would get herself into. Though the film is overarched by the social and political context of Mexico circa 1970-71, I didn't feel like Cuaron tried to make some social commentary, maybe it's just a character study of a woman who could only depend on the kindness of strangers, like Blanche Dubois, but is able to find some inner strength to overcome a blind (but not malicious) adversity if not triumph over it.

    And indeed, in her harrowing journey (that doesn't follow any pattern of cinematic predictability), it's less in what happens to her than the reactions it inspires. The film is less driven by plot points but the way people react and reactions to their reactions... or non-reactions for that matter. There is an interesting scene where a Karate master shows a trick that looks extremely easy until it's done with closed eyes, I don't know if it was supposed to symbolize one of the film's underlying messages, but it's true that many things that happen are due to people's obliviousness, carelessness or lack of empathy. And near the end, both Cleo and Sofia realize they had more in common than they would have thought, adversity strikes everyone... only in different ways. Blind again, but not malicious.

    What I liked in "Roma", besides its realism, is the fact that it doesn't just try to depict a slice of life but Life with a major L, providing sights often suggested but rarely shown in the movies. Indeed, the film contains many graphic sequences including a naked male body (and I'm sorry to say that it's more distracting for me than a woman's... maybe because the thing "moves"... chuckles) and one that shouldn't be spoiled but that had me almost gasping with tears because it was the moment where many aspects of an editing that demanded some patience from us finally paid off, and I knew I had to expect a high spot of emotionality sometime in the film. Cuaron's "Roma" (whatever the title means) is truly daring by showing life and death with the same clinical detachment from his lenses, one that also shows in the climactic scene, hinted by the poster.

    Now, I wanted to give he film a 10 because it has reached a cinematic level of perfection I rarely found in a movie but sometimes its beauty just feels so deliberate it becomes sophisticated. The film benefits from Alfonso Cuaron's perfect command of the camera (we're obviously talking of the Oscar-winner for Best Cinematography and maybe Best Director) but the cinematography tends to steal the story's thunder and compromises the film's attempt to be a realistic portrait of a Mexican's slice of life in the 70s in an atmosphere of love devoid of the cynicism we get from today's dysfunctional families. The children in the film are not only adorable but played with an authentic simplicity and since so many directors said it was a nightmare to direct children, Cuaron deserves a credit for that too.

    So It's precisely because the story is so well told and well acted that I wished it wouldn't be so well directed... though I approve the choice of the black-and-white for no other reason that it gives the film a sort of dreamy aura fitting its nostalgia.

    Overall, "Roma" is a great film with a few haunting moments.
  • scoops3527 December 2018
    I sincerely tried to get into this movie. I was honestly bored throughout the film. I loved the camera work and get what this was going for. I just could not get invested as much as I wanted to. Not a bad movie. Just not keeping me tuned in. Although I do say again Cinematography was very nice throughout the film.
  • pjaycuk11 February 2019
    After forcing myself to watch this film to the end I just cannot understand the positive comments concerning the film. The film had no interest for me, I felt no emotion, I felt nothing. Someone mentioned the Emperor's New Clothes !!!. After seeing the BAFTA awards and some of the comments I think I have to admit to myself that I know nothing about film art and must be a complete moron on the subject. Some excellent nominations this year and they pick this film. I cannot remember watching a film that had so little interest for me. I have studied the positive comments and still cannot understand why it is claimed to be so good. Please someone agree with me.
  • Every now and then a movie comes along that reviewers who want to appear sophisticated and "in the know" feel compelled to heap all kinds of praise upon. This is one of those movies. Boring, slow, tedious, and lame don't begin to describe it. Hate is a strong word, but it is the only appropriate one to describe my feeling towards this waste of film. I honestly don't see how any real human being could like or enjoy this movie, and I suspect that very few actually did, despite their phony reviews.
  • For the most part, watching Roma was about as interesting as watching paint dry...but not just *any* paint, but the most perfect, precious, beautifully applied paint imaginable. And not just paint in any room, but a room designed to be the best room with the best lighting and the best layout...and, oh, this was paint drying under high humidity conditions so you needed to watch the paint dry in a single, long-flowing take to appreciate the reflective nuances of the paint in all its evolving glory and often from unusually low angles of perspective since that yields special visual treats. Best Director. Best Cinematography. Best Paint Job. Ultimately not engaging.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I really had to force myself to watch this movie on Netflix, in three times, each "session" lasting as long as I could, before I started to drift off. I knew I was in trouble from the opnening scene of a symmetrically tiled floor being washed. Interesting it wasn't, but for sure it lasted a very long time. The unexciting opening credits were followed by disconnected episodes in the life of a large family and their two maids. Apologies to the politically correct police, but for a while I could not distinguish one maid from the other. After a while I learnt one was Cleo and the other Adela.

    We focus on Cleo, who gets pregnant by an "inconsiderate" lover (understatement of the year). In the meantime, Sofia, the lady of the house is dumped by her doctor husband for a younger model. Sofia must take care of their four kids on her own, but does not seem quite up to the task. All this slightly soap-opera drama is seen from a distance, dialogues are boring and few and far between. There is no building of tension or plot development.

    Other than this being filmed in black & white to offer a political statement of some sort, there is nothing that strucks me as genuinely moving. As a commercial operation, it's certainly the perfect Oscar bait. Yet another Mexican director will bag the big prize and everybody will be righteously happy that justice prevailed.... I mean, that the best film won the prize it deserves...or whatever
  • As I said. A movie about my grandmother just walking around her house and doing the loundry, cleaning the dishes or crying about her lost husband would be less boring than this movie. This is my first review ever and I wanted to say that I don't understand what's really the point of this movie. Very slow, showing only trivial events. Please don't waste two hours of your life with this movie.
  • pb-0559610 February 2019
    The cinematography is not bad but the lack of story and everything else makes it a dull and flat movie easy to forget. Personally a waist of my time.
  • So boring and unremarkable. I've seen commercials on TV with better plotlines. Tries to be artsy and cutting edge. Just a waste of time and film.
  • francisco89924 February 2019
    Warning: Spoilers
    Was ready to see a great story beautifully told with the best cinematography. Started by being bored with 5 minutes watching water on concrete for the credits. And that more or less summarises the movie. No story, just scenes of this maid cleaning, getting predictably pregnant. Doesn't deserve a chocolate medal!
  • I understand why this movie is a work of art. I just don't know why it is a work of cinematic art. We are watching cinema, not video art.

    Underlying cinema is a story. The story has characters, that represent the complexity of the human condition - they have hopes, disappointments, successes and failures. They have different traits.

    Roma is a work of visual art. It has no story that captivates you. It has no characters that have any real sense of depth or complexity. If it's leading actress wins the Oscar it will be a shame. She was just a doll in Cuarón's autobiography.

    In a nutshell - it is boring.

    The leading movie critic in israel called it one of the most important movies of the century.

    I think the "king has no clothes".
  • Absolutely zero plot and wholly unlikable/uninteresting characters. The main character had no spine, and clearly, no drive to succeed. Also, possibly the most boring movie I have ever seen. Not sure how it's up for a Best Picture Oscar, as it wouldn't be in my top 30 of this year.
  • Ignore the hype. Ignore the awards. Hell, ignore this review--just sit back and experience this film for yourself.

    Simply put, Roma is among the richest examples of what cinema can offer.

    Over the brief 134-minute runtime, we grow into a family in a patient and natural way as we live and breathe their day-to-day lives in 1970s Mexico City. The film is essentially a sequence of episodes, big or small in its impact on a family, affecting characters in different ways, and told primarily through the perspective of the housemaid, Cleo (Yalitzo Aparicio). We experience hardships, love, anger, tragedy, bliss, and even the smallest of human emotions, such as childhood naïveté. And like children, we once again embrace the details of life, from collecting hail from the ground by hand as it falls from the sky to sharing a hug as last night's rain can be heard still trickling down the gutters.

    Written, directed, produced, filmed, and edited by Alfonso Cuarón, this is as much a personal work as it is a testament to an artist's vision and talent. It is a historically-grounded film that comes alive with Tati-esque significance reaching every corner of the frame, with camerawork so intentional that it fills our hearts with a mother's pain, an Ozu-like story that ranges from lighthearted to cathartic, and a brilliant pattern of recurring, cyclic, familiarizing setting elements that appreciates and brings into light the reality of everyday life.

    Perhaps one of Roma's strongest thematic undercurrents is the perseverance of women within the societal stronghold of men. With its unapologetic display of evil deeds at the expense of women going criminally unnoticed every day, Roma is, in a way, a love letter to say that Cuarón did not forget the multifaceted strength of the women in his life (it is dedicated to his nanny and, like Fellini's Roma, was inspired by his own childhood).

    The film's end felt like awaking from a dream. As the lights turned on, I looked around the theater, as if we have all just transported back to our own lives. Cuarón has accomplished something extraordinary here. While much of Roma comes from the memories of childhood, it is also a film that will bring each one of us back to what movies are about. And that is the greatest mark of an exceptional film.

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  • This is by far the movie that has frustrated me the most. A movie is supposed to be digital storytelling, I repeat STORYtelling. If a movie has no plot and no direction then what is the point other than if you enjoy watching people walk around and talk senselessly for hours in black and white. Yes it's pretty and the cinematography is more than there, but that's not what you rely on to create a movie, especially when that's all that's there. Overall this is a lazy attempt at movie making that somehow surpassed the academy and has duped them into handing them awards for it. You can't film people doing pointless things for 2 straight hours, include no plot, slap a title on there, and call it a movie.
  • The cinematography is good. But it has a flimsy plot. It's boring. The characters are uninteresting. Its one if the worst films I have ever seen. If only Netflix had spent the 24 million dollars to help the homeless instead of using it to promote this terrible film!
  • First, I think Alfonso Cuaron is a good director. But this is one of those films that tries to impress you with how boring it is. Even my Mexican wife, who loves any film, actor, character, or TV show having to do with Mexico, was bored to tears by this.

    It's textbook pretentious filmmaking. Nothing to grip you. Nothing to keep you interested. No mystery. No wonder. No real characters. No real tension.

    It looks no better than a higher budget film school experiment.

    No one will remember this film in five years. It will not be talked about. It will not be seen. It will become one of the many, many forgotten films that some pretentious director suckered a bunch of pretentious people into thinking they liked because it's slow and boring...but that's artsy, I guess.
  • With all the rave reviews I can only imagine that there has been a sophisticated hacking of IMDB by someone who would benefit. Having watched this boring nothing of a movie I totally agree with all the one star raters. Pretentious bilge.
  • The ONLY reason we decided to watch a black and white movie with subtitles was due to the awards received. The ONLY reason we watched until the end was due to the awards, thinking that certainly it will improve. It's SO slow moving that anything that seems like it might turn dramatic, like a tire rolling over dog pooh, had us anticipating some kind of major drama. But it was just a shot of a tire rolling over dog pooh. That's basically how the whole movie goes. Mexico is so beautiful and colorful, not filming in color was a huge mistake.

    The dark video and very poor audio meant we were basically just reading a story while trying to decipher which character was talking.

    If this movie is worthy of any award, the movie industry is in very sad shape.
  • About as entertaining as watching paint dry. As others said I forced myself to watch it as it was so critically acclaimed. By who?! Boring and depressing. Thank goodness it did not get the Oscar for best film.
  • What a disgrace to give the Oscar to this director. Nothing about this film is worthy of any award- not acting, not cinematography, not editing. If you want a sleeping pill, look no further
  • caseely27 February 2019
    Warning: Spoilers
    I watched this because of all the Oscar hype. I found it extremely boring, parts unconnected, and of no redeeming value. It's about a maid who gets knocked up by a rotten guy. She works for a doctor who ends up leaving his wife... and has a dog that craps in the carport. There are scenes that make no sense. Perhaps this is a stinker because it's in Spanish with English subtitles... the problem with that is that the viewer has no idea who is saying what. In short... if I never see this movie again it'll be too soon.
  • martimusross27 February 2019
    This movie represents perhaps the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the Oscars and the Baftas. It's selection is entirely Political and political and like the "times up" and "me too" movement last year or indeed the under-representation of BME winners the year before its elevation to greatness is based on the latest or "worthy" fashion trend. I am disgusted and betrayed that organisations whose raison d'etre is to recognise and promote excellence in the film industry would allow themselves to be so hood-winked and tainted by this calumny.

    I will now analyse this movie in detail under 7 headings.

    1, The Memories, The Director Alfonso Cuaron states the movies is a collection of his memories and the women who reared him. For this approach to have any meaning for the viewer the memory recalled must be either of emotional or historical significance to the formation of a specific character. No character had discernable definition, no emotion was conveyed and a memory of dog excrement or bad driving, disappearing bookcases or fireworks is of insufficient weight to convey meaning. I would go further that in the mundanity and rambling progression of this movie the "events" inserted were so contrived to provide a catalyst that I laughed in exasperation.

    2, The Characters, there was no character definition to define any specific character, there was no script to speak of to attach to any character that would display an emotional inner world, history or future. Moving from room to room cleaning and turning off lights is not acting, if it were so I would have earned at least two Oscars this morning. We were just shown the mundanity of feckless acts by ugly people who we cared not whether they lived or died. I vote for the latter. I had to laugh when the Director stated he went through countless villages auditioning thousands of women to find his "Cleo", my cleaner is available anytime WTF!

    3. The Corpus Christi Massacre, this was handled as a side-issue or even a non-issue, there was here finally a chance to say something by the Director, and yet the whole event was diluted by shopping for a cot and Cleo's waters breaking. If I were to choose a comparator perhaps it would be the absence of the French Revolution in a Jane Austin novel despite it occuring as a backdrop. The device of inserting incidents, the fireworks, the abandonment, the near drowning were introduced as catalysts for plot development but literally nothing followed, leading to frustration for the viewer. Any successful drama is the compression of reality over conflict here the drama was displayed practically in real time and therefore there was no compression and hence no drama.

    4. Toxic Masculinity, wow the same old cards, all men are losers, all men abuse and abandon women, the "fictional" sisterhood in a domestic setting (no such thing), the underpinning of a pseudo-reality where only women can be compassionate, only women own up to the responsibilities of child rearing. Give me a break, this is not toxic masculinity but strident feminist misandry with an agenda. There was nothing new here in this movie that wasn't said 20 years ago, and what there was handled badly. This movie was a setback for any feminist principles and they should be ashamed.

    5, The Cinematography, the black and white just underpinned a dreadful black and white world. Yes the tonal qualities of the images were good, but cinematography is a vehicle for the story and drama before us, much of its was delivered like a series of postcards, the camera moved with a lack of variety. Overall this was style over substance and certainly not worthy of an Oscar when compared to the Favourite or Bohemian Rhapsody.

    6. The Simplicity, we had lengthy views, panoramas, cleaning, driving , marching, water, the seaside, fireworks etc etc. So what! How does this entertain me in of itself, the answer is it doesn't. There was no tension or dramatic impetus, it had the feel of a screensaver or watching a spider build a web. Interesting for a minute and then what next. Within a movie every image much add to the plot, this series of images had no meaning or profundity and thus we just didn't care.

    7. The Score, these was no score we just had the irritating and haphazard sounds of humanity.

    In our age film is the new high-art of the 21 century, when news and opinion cannot be trusted film becomes pre-eminent in its power to shape and form public discourse. The Oscars and Baftas matter and the selection of this movie for honour brings these organisations into disrepute at a time when we all need to believe in the honest intentions of "experts".

    If there was an Oscar to be handed out it would go to Borras the dog as he told us in the yard repeatedly what he thought about this movie and he was right.
  • I already want to see "Roma" again.

    It took me a good while to settle into the rhythms of Alfonso Cuaron's critically acclaimed new film, and by the time I did I wanted to go back and start it over to see what I might have missed. A lot comes at the viewer in "Roma," and it's hard to take it all in on a first viewing. No...that's the wrong way to put it. Nothing comes at you -- you have to go after it. That's what makes "Roma" unique. Cuaron crams his frame in any given scene with tons of movement and sound, but he shoots almost everything in medium and long shots and chooses to pan his camera rather than insert a lot of edits. The result is you have to decide what you want to look at, and while the main protagonist is in virtually every scene, she's not always necessarily the focal point.

    That protagonist, by the way, is Cleo, maid to a wealthy family and played in a quiet and quietly devastating performance by Yalitza Aparicio. "Roma" is an episodic assemblage of scenes that shows what life is like for Cleo, without big showy emotional moments or much editorializing. She's treated fairly well by the family she works for, but make no mistake -- they rarely let her forget she's their employee. The film is a lot about privilege. The family treats Cleo as one of their own when they feel like it or when it's convenient to, but don't when it's not. She's part of their most intimate moments and they her's, but she'll never really be one of them. She has much to take care of, but nothing of her own to really care for. And there's a big wide world out there, the movie makes clear, that will never include people like Cleo.

    For a while I was a little disappointed that I wasn't feeling "Roma" as much as I wanted to and as much as rapturous reviews led me to believe I would. I was engaged by it, but I didn't feel heavily involved emotionally. But then pretty far into the movie something happens to Cleo, and in that moment I realized how invested I was in how things turned out for her. "Roma" sneaks up on you in that way.

    Grade: A
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