I want to start by saying the world is not worthy of consuming the stories that center indigenous Mexican women’s pain. Fictitious or otherwise. I said what I said. 

Nevertheless, here we are. Roma hits the mark when it comes to the technical aspects. The cinematography. My goodness. The decision to tell this story in black and white was an excellent choice. I feel as if seeing this in color would detract from the storytelling somehow. 

I was so invested in Cleodegaria “Cleo” Gutiérrez’s story that I didn’t care about anything else, but this is where my issues with the film arise...

Too many moments emphasized her subservience. I understand that she’s a housekeeper, but I still felt as if Roma had a chance to be different in this regard yet failed. I’m really sensitive when it comes to narratives about househelp, slaves, maids, etc.  ( women of color play these roles more than white women), so I hope when writers include those type of characters that they choose to make bolder choices.   

And yet, Cleo’s story was so raw and emotional and real that I felt utterly stunned by the second half of the film, so my issues with the emphasis on her housekeeping role ultimately fell into the background.  

I’m still struggling to consolidate my feelings about Roma, one hour later. On the one hand, and I know this is a hottake, I felt as if parts of the film were poverty porn. On the other hand, I didn’t get the vibe that the story meant to intentionally exploit poverty. I mean Cuarón was inspired by his childhood observations/reality after all. 

It’s clear that I have conflicting emotions about Roma, which is why I refuse to give it a star rating, but I think it deserves a rewatch. I also think that the story, Yalizta Aparicio, and Cuarón deserve all of the attention that they’re getting. A slice of life indeed.

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