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tennisgurl

Roma (2018)

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I finally got to see this, and I can see why its gotten so much critical praise, and is already doing so well in the awards circuit. Its deeply personal, you can tell Alfonso Cuarón really put his whole heart and soul into this project. It feels so very real, and nails what I imagine things were like in this specific time and place, the good and the bad. I also have a soft spot for movies that look at these big historical and cultural moments, like the Corpus Christi Massacre, from the perspective of the random people just living their lives that get caught up in it, even in the peripheral. And even after horrible things like that, life goes on.

I was surprised to find out that most of the performers are not professional actors, as they did great work. Also, was not expecting so much...full frontal...thats not something you get in most movies, male frontal nudity is kind of the final frontier in film nudity. 

I would not be surprised if this went on to win Best Picture. Its basically a lock for Director, so I am interested to see where it lands on the big prize. 

Edited by tennisgurl

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I would add that the b&w photography is gorgeous, making the mundane stuff look beautiful, which is part of the point of the movie,  I think.  And some of the shots and set-ups are really amazing, in that thinking about it afterward you realize how much effort it must have taken to get them. Which makes a case for seeing it on a big screen if you have the chance.

Plus it's been a while since I was so moved by a new movie.  Beautiful work.

Edited by Charlie Baker
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Thanks, tennisgurl and Charlie Baker. I really look forward to this one.  I've seen about seven of the 2018 movies, and while there have been some good ones (and some I didn't like at all), so far the only one I'd call great (if difficult) is First Reformed.

On 1/11/2019 at 2:18 PM, tennisgurl said:

Also, was not expecting so much...full frontal...thats not something you get in most movies, male frontal nudity is kind of the final frontier in film nudity. 

Not to hijack this into a list of every movie with a lot of male full frontal, but after 2011's Shame, I felt like Michael Fassbender's doctor. You're right in that it's unusual enough to linger as memorable, especially when an actor is well known.  

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I watched this on Netflix....it was good, but i didn't think it was GREAT....i saw on youtube some people think you need to see it more than once to really get into it

 

i liked how he showed what was going on with the revolution, the direction of the film is really, really good....i'm just not sure about a best picture win

 

but it's nice to see a foreign language film finally be a contender in the awards circuit

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Roma won four Critics' Choice Awards tonight!

Best Picture

Best Director - Alfonso Cuarón

Best Foreign Language Film

Best Cinematography - Alfonso Cuarón

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo

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I finally got around to this one on Friday night, and I am still mulling it over. It is a visually stunning film that really puts the viewer in the world of Mexico at the dawn of the 1970s, when Alfonso Cuarón would have been a boy of nine or ten. I thought his onscreen analog here was the somewhat younger, imaginative Pepe, who talks of dreams in which he is old, although others have suggested an older son, Paco, who nearly drowns in a late scene. Either way, we can infer that the science-fiction film the kids are taken to see was an early inspiration for Cuarón's own Gravity (2013).   

What I find unusual about Roma is that it is clearly very personal yet curiously studied and detached. Scenes and shots look "composed" in a way that draws—and fixes—attention to their composition. The material when presented in synopsis form reads as very emotional, and the unfamiliar actors (some acting for the first time) are excellent. The two principal women (Yalitza Aparicio as the devoted maid/nanny Cleo and Marina de Tavira as harried mother Sofia) deserve their Oscar nominations, and Jorge Antonio Guerrero is memorable in a handful of scenes as Cleo's terrible boyfriend, behaving worse each time we see him.  

Yet when it was over, I could not help feeling more the way I do after I see a great photographic exhibit than a dramatic film. The presentation of this fraught material is almost oppressively aestheticized. Even though we see a great deal of Cleo away from her place of employment, she remains a distant figure, the beloved domestic a relatively privileged boy grew up and wrote a film about, while still understanding her as a beloved domestic. Her inner life remains opaque.

It is, nevertheless, masterly filmmaking, with scenes of abandonment, loss, political upheaval, and (at the climactic point) perseverance that are triumphs of direction, however oddly chilly I found them in effect. At present I would say it is a film I respect more than love, but I would see it again. Of the Best Picture nominee field this year, only The Favourite seems to me on the same level of superior artistry. Some of my own favorite 2018 films are not nominated (First ReformedThe Ballad of Buster ScruggsEighth GradeWidows), so I will be most satisfied if one or the other of these two wins, and Roma seems to have the homestretch momentum.

Edited by Simon Boccanegra
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On 2/17/2019 at 11:22 AM, Simon Boccanegra said:

Yet when it was over, I could not help feeling more the way I do after I see a great photographic exhibit than a dramatic film. The presentation of this fraught material is almost oppressively aestheticized. Even though we see a great deal of Cleo away from her place of employment, she remains a distant figure, the beloved domestic a relatively privileged boy grew up and wrote a film about, while still understanding her as a beloved domestic. Her inner life remains opaque.

Yes, I had trouble putting my finger on why I wasn't blown away by this movie, despite the excellent performances, and gorgeous photography, but I think you've defined it. I felt  I should have been touched by Cleo's story (and the actress did indeed do a wonderful job) but there was a detached quality to the filmmaking that left me curiously unmoved. I also felt that Cuaron was seriously trying to draw parallels between the mother's life journey and that of the maid, however the mother was such a privileged and  unsympathetic character (often vacillating between showing kindness and cruelly taking her rage out on Cleo), that this device didn't work for me. I dunno, I guess I found it beautiful looking, but inert. It just didn't rock my world  the way it seemed to for others.

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All I disagree with there, Cheezewiz, is that I did find the mother a sympathetic character too. Just in a different way from Cleo. Throughout much of the film, it's as though she's trying to keep a dam from bursting, maintaining her husband's deceptions for the sake of the kids. She's in this doomed holding pattern, until she's not. I did like that, underneath it all, she really valued Cleo.  

One of my favorite scenes was her drunken parking of the Galaxie, and what she says to Cleo when she gets out of the car, having battered the walls. I have a narrow garage myself, so all those parking scenes were hitting (literally!) close to home.

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9 minutes ago, Simon Boccanegra said:

I did like that, underneath it all, she really valued Cleo.  

The problem I had with the Mother character, is that she only seemed to see Cleo's value when she realized she herself would be facing life as a single parent. There would be no way for her forward as a breadwinner in a cushy publishing job, without Cleo to manage the children and the household tasks. She did display kindness and understanding when Cleo revealed her pregnancy, but apart from that, she seemed to regard Cleo as part of the furniture, as did the children much of the time, although they loved her. Cuaron did a good job of illustrating their thoughtlessness even after Cleo's dramatic rescue of the two youngest children.

The parking attempt scenes in the garage were quite funny - mostly because I'm terrible at parking myself!

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I'm hispanic and have lived all my life in Central America.

The movie really hit home in how maids become a part of one's family. They are always present, but not usually seen (I'm sure that makes zero sense), for example when Cleo knew perfectly what was going on between the Mr. and Mrs. and was shooing the older boy away from eavesdropping.

I, too had a maid throughout my childhood. She was with us for 10 years, got pregnant and had a baby. That really, really hit home. 

Anyway...

The cinematography was great, and the editing as well. HOWEVER there were a few too many "glamour shots" for me, as in extended scenes that serve little purpose and scream OSCAR BAIT! for me. For example: Focusing on the broken mug at the Christmas party.

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