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Roma (2018 Netflix) Review

By Ian Crow

Roma is one of the most talked about films of 2018, winning the prestigious Golden Lion (Best Film) award at the Venice Film Festival and being nominated for three Golden Globes at this year’s ceremony. No doubt ‘Roma’ will go onto acquiring some Academy Award nominations early in 2019. Not only is it being talked about because of the buzz of awards surrounding it, but it could become the first Netflix movie to be nominated for ‘Best Picture’ at the Oscars. Adding to that, it’s Alfonso Cuaron’s first film since ‘Gravity’ back in 2013, so it feels like there is a certain expectation for ‘Roma’ to deliver the goods.

Set in the 1970’s, ‘Roma’ follows the life of a maid called Cleo played by Yalitza Aparicio. Cleo works for a high-class family in Mexico City; here is where we follow her life for a year. Admittedly, I was excited to watch this film as I had read some brilliant write ups of ‘Roma’ and was intrigued to see Cuaron return to his native tongue since ‘Y Tu Mama Tambien’ back in 2001. Despite this excitement, I was fairly disappointed by the outcome of the film. I had expected a lot more than what I had experienced which was a film that at times was fairly boring and at other times, flat. Whilst it cannot be denied that the film is visually outstanding, with Cuaron delivering a beautiful piece of work especially given the black and white format, it is the substance of the movie that is lacking.

My preferred option would have been to see ‘Roma’ in its intended format in the cinema, but due to not getting a theatrical release in the UK, it was not possible to view it this way. Instead watching it on the day of release on Netflix was my only option. Discussing this further with my fellow All Things Movies colleague, I mentioned that watching it at home on a TV with the everyday life distraction present may have cast a spell on my potential enjoyment of ‘Roma’. I would like to revisit the film again at some point, ideally in the cinema, to see if my opinion differs but at this moment in time, I didn’t enjoy ‘Roma’ and wouldn’t recommend people to watch it, which is a huge shame, especially for a director like Cuaron whom I admire.

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