Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018): Mexico | USA

Reviewed by Jackson Davis. Viewed at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.

Up until Santa Barbara’s Film Festival, I largely ignored Roma. I had heard comments and seen a few headlines on how breathtaking it was, or how it was a cinematic masterpiece, but it never stood out to me. I was given the opportunity to see it, and even now, it still doesn’t really do it for me. Now, I know I am definitely not the target audience for this film. I’m a young, English-speaking college student, and a black-and-white, foreign film set in the ’70s isn’t necessarily the kind of film I would enjoy. And I didn’t enjoy it. It’s not something I would ever recommend someone should sit down and watch with friends. But it is an amazing film. It is exquisitely crafted and is incredibly well put together from a film making standpoint.

But that’s my problem with Roma. Director Alfonso Cuarón has made several entertaining films (Gravity, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) and has shown he is more than capable of making a movie at least somewhat entertaining to an audience, but Roma has almost nothing that makes me want to watch it. The almost 2 1/2 hour run-time felt much closer to 3, as it just went on an on.

Despite my seething contempt for watching it, that my only gripe with it. The acting is phenomenal, especially Yalitza Aparicio’s portrayal  of Cleo. The sound design, and music is spot-on. The cinematography blew me away. I can’t praise what the film did enough. Cuarón did a fantastic job taking his childhood and adapting it for the big screen. It’s just not a film that I would enjoy watching again, as despite everything it does right, the film fails to hold my interest while I watch it.

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