(This is Roma film review, which is a 2018 Mexican drama film directed by Alfonso Cuarón that is shot entirely in black and white)
It is quite rare nowadays for a feature film to be shot entirely in monochromatic format, as it seems to mostly be reserved for an art film. In a sense, this latest feature from the famous Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón, who also directed Y Tú Tambien and Gravity, does look like an art film from its trailer. However, it stars almost some unknown actors such as Yalitza Aparicio. Now, to answer the question of whether this is an art film or not, be ready to find out through the Roma film review below!
A maid who works for a family in Mexico in the Colonia Roma is embroiled with the family’s situation as the master of the house and his wife have a strained relationship. Things start to get out of hand as she is pregnant herself without any support from her boyfriend. Soon, a protest happened nearby that will involve everyone who lives in the neighborhood. Now, what could a simple maid do to survive such life?
Roma Film Review
What in the hell was this film? How in the hell did you do this maestro Cuaron??? If I had to summarise and describe this film in one sentence: Roma is the masterpiece that I never want to watch again but a film that every self-respecting fan of film should watch at least once.
Plot-wise there honestly ain’t that much to say. It is about nothing… And yet it shows us everything. The main plot is honestly a pretty mundane drama and yet, YET… certain scenes feature some of the most intricate, massive set pieces which Cuaron effortlessly presents in lingering wide angle pans. Some of the most interesting and dramatic things happen on screen but they are rarely ever the focus of the plot despite being the focus of the camera.
The biggest praise I can give it is also probably its biggest weakness and that is it barely feels like a movie. The characters feel so genuine, their… “acting” feels so raw. You honestly feel like Cuaron has built a literal time machine and you’re getting a rare intimate glimpse into the past. There’s sometimes so much going on onscreen during certain scenes, I cannot imagine the work that went into crafting these environments and directing all these people.
The black and white, despite there being color films in the 70s already, just add to that “time machine” effect and honestly makes for some stunningly beautiful scenes. Like I said the biggest weakness of this film is that it feels too much like real life to the point where almost nothing is dramatised and the plot meanders and unfortunately for some sections of the film there really isn’t that much going on. But at its heart, there is still a compelling family drama here and it also focuses on some strong female characters.
This is truly a modern technical masterpiece of a film and the majority of filmmakers today can probably only aspire to reach such lofty heights.