Roma (2018)

2h 15m / R / Drama

Winner of Best Film at the Venice Film Festival, and one of the most highly-acclaimed films of the year, Roma is a sumptuous and compassionate masterpiece, a portrait painted on a huge canvas that centers on lives that some might think small. Set in Mexico City in the early 1970s, it tells the story of a young indigenous woman who works as a maid for a middle-class white family that’s falling apart.

Written and directed (and shot, and coedited) by Academy-Award-winning director Alfonso Cuarón (Y Tu Mamá También, Gravity, Children of Men), Roma uses one little household on one little street to open up an entire world, working on a panoramic scale often reserved for war stories or mythology, but with the sensibility of a personal diarist. It’s an expansive, emotional glimpse of life buffeted by violent forces, using both intimacy and monumentality to express the profundity of ordinary existence. Shot in lush, Fellini-esque black and white, Roma transcends both the technical aptitude and the storytelling ambition of most movies — it’s a vision, a memory play that unfolds with a gritty and virtuosic time-machine austerity, more Proustian reverie than documentary. The plotting is so delicate and spare that the screenplay was kept hidden from the actors, mostly first-timers and amateurs, until the day of shooting. Filmmaking this good, this affecting, simply doesn’t come around very often. If you’ve ever been moved by a movie, come see Roma.

Spanish with English subtitles