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Showing an ordinary life in a way that makes it very meaningful
bedirhantg4 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Roma took me to my childhood, even if it wasn't a bad one. I watched it like I was one of the children in the film. I think that was the director's intention too. We as the viewers barely understand what's going on in the house or around where they live, like the children in the film. There's certainly something's going on, something bad, or even terrifying in some points; we see the tension, not necessarily understand it, like the children in the film.

I felt the internal pain of those women in the film while watching it, tried to understand their problems and feelings while they're hiding them. I was that kid who was trying to secretly listen what his mom (Sofia) says as she cries behind the door, as a viewer throughout the movie. I felt that for Cleo too.

You feel the desperation of people against everything that's going on around them in this film, the insignificance of human against events; yet you understand what it means to be a person, an individual, in all this mess. An earthquake happens and suddenly you stand next to desperate people who can't do anything but kneel and pray; you see newborns that can't even move their body an inch, and their nurses in panic, yet they try to save them. You see a baby almost died in a newborn care unit made out of glass that have a piece of the concrete ceiling fallen on top of it; the pinnacle of desperation.

At that moment when the earthquake happens, you get what Cleo feels: She doesn't care. Deep in her mind, she doesn't care about anything after her boyfriend left her alone with a baby. Maybe she wasn't getting any joy from life even from the beginning. It isn't clear though, like our own lives: Yes she goes out with her boyfriend and seems happy, but we certainly feel that there is something broken in her. We feel it especially in the scene where she talks with the little boy on the rooftop. Throughout the film, you always feel that internal loneliness, even if she's always with someone who cares for her. That's the loneliness, the strangeness, you feel in the middle of the city, in the middle of the crowd.

We don't see the father much. This is intentional, to stop us from thinking how he felt and why he left the family. The main focus is what rest of the family feels. And as I mentioned before, the film makes us feel like we're one of the children in that family. We barely understand what's going on between the mother and the father, like a children.

I think the desperation of human is really the subject of this film. We always feel it: When Cleo and Teresa (grandmother) goes to the store and suddenly there's a massacre in the street and no one can do anything; when the earthquake happens; when Fermin leaves Cleo, and when he denies his own child; when Sofia realizes that her husband left their family. Even the whole situation of Mexico at that time is really bad, and hopeless for some. But after all this mess, there is a search for happiness and hope. And this is in the nature of human, and other animals too. We see the common response of nearly all the nature, especially humans, after Cleo loses her child: The grief. And then we see the common response what all the nature gives after the grief: Search for hope, to survive the rest of life.

Roma is a film about an ordinary life of an ordinary person, at the end of the day. But the film gives it so much meaning. I'm not going to explain the symbolism in the film; like when we see some Americans shooting their guns in the woods, or when we see a women drinking recklessly while others trying to extinguish a forest fire. I believe that every individual watching a film like Roma, gets their own meaning.

If you're someone who watched this film on Netflix by accident, hoping to see some Marvel stuff or a dull action, please do us a favor and stop writing a 1 star "review." We're seeing the fate of every good film on IMDb, in user rating charts of this film too: There's a majority of people who liked this film and gave 7-8-9-10 stars, and there's a little group, but a noticeable one, who gives 10 to their favorite franchise and 1 to the films they didn't "enjoyed," there is no film in between. (Of course I respect the people who didn't like the film and wrote a helpful review.) So if you're going to watch this film, I definitely recommend you to do it. You will be glad to witness a classic, in the time when it's created. After you finish watching it, there's an inevitable desire of research waiting you to understand what it all meant and what was the historical events mentioned in the film. This film carries so much meaning. But you don't need to over-analyze a film (or a painting, etc.) to enjoy it of course.

At the end, what makes this film beautiful is, how calmly it reminds us what it's like to be an individual in the middle of the mess of modern times, in the mess we don't want to deal with while creating it for others. And showing cleverly how meaningful the life itself is, we normally consider ordinary.
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I get it.
johnofardeal24 January 2019
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.
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Really, really great camera panning
Flusenboy24 December 2018
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.
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Boring, Nothing 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.
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I tried
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.
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Pretentious, plotless and soporific
dierregi12 February 2019
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
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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.
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Stunning cinematography mixed with pathos and a boring story line
ilikeimdb18 December 2018
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.
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2½ hrs of my life wasted.
amandahenderson-932957 February 2019
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.
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Couldn't wait for it to be over.
rdturley-400-21963122 February 2019
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.
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A movie about my grandma would be better than this
elvisalex-b21 December 2018
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.
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A Shocking Fraud
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 ever 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.
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"The King has no Clothes"
yyironm22 December 2018
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".
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The emperor has no clothes
mikebakunin21 December 2018
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.
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francisco89924 February 2019
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!
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Avoid this movie
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.
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Highly disappointing
jjlaw-2825010 March 2019
As a big fan of Alfonso Cuarón's "Y tú mamá también" this was an eagerly anticipated Saturday night form of entertainment. Unfortunately this turned out to be an overly pretentious black and white cinematic letdown. Not only was the plot extremely depressing but I personally felt that men were being unfairly represented in the movie. I'm all for gender equality but not all men are guilty of violence and sexism on this planet. Another opportunistic move to jump on the #metoo movement from film directors to try to rectify the past. Don't be fooled by the early reviews, I've just wasted 2 hours of life on this.
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This movie is so awful, it went straight to video.
suspence85263 March 2019
Once again The Elites of Hollywood force another crappy movie onto the world. Watching paint dry was more entertaining this straight to video movie. If only we had a wall, this could have been prevented.
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Great if you suffer from insomnia
meli_na_cy28 February 2019
I love movies and great series like downtown abbey , peaky blinders , breaking bad and many more .

A great movie is the Schindler list / Scent of a woman / The Godfather and many many more .. THIS ?! Dear lord why did i ever sit and volunteered to watch this until the end ? I just thought it's impossible to be that bad ! Impossible. So i watch the whole thing and seriously NOTHING HAPPENED. Nothing!

Go watch legendary movies . This is not !
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I can't even think of a worse movie than Roma
km-equines28 February 2019
I'm completely disappointed in this movie. It is literally so boring that I fell asleep during it. How did this win a single award? The black and white just made it worse. This is the biggest let down, all hyped up for nothing.
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An indifferent and boring movie from a very clever director
Nessus8510026 February 2019
Like the title says... indifferent and boring but Alfonso Cuaron it's very clever to understand that the anti-Trump mania that has take over Hollywood the last couple of years will make a black & white movie about the other side of the "wall" (that he wants to build), will be a big hit. And it did. For you people in the USA (and the Academy) maybe it's important for the rest of the world it's..... indifferent and boring!!!
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Big Waste of Time
therosses51 March 2019
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.
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Plot anyone?
rmolc-0307428 February 2019
Had to be slowest movie I have ever watched. All along am wondering when the plot would be showing up? Girl gets knocked up, biological is a louse, baby doesnt make it.

Why did Fermin come in store shooting, what was that about?

Okay she has a cathartic moment at beach where the she should have let the rat kids drowned. So what
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A Year in the Life of a Maid, Seemingly Done in Real Time.
Entertainment-Buff24 February 2019
I don't get the appeal of this film. It is slow moving and boring. The black and white cinematography is good, but that's about it. Some great closeups of the tile floor she is mopping, if that's your thing.
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A slice of Life... with a major "L"...
ElMaruecan8215 December 2018
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.
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