Roma ★★★

Roma is proof that a film can be beautiful while not being entirely effective. The central performance from Yalitza Aparicio is heartbreaking, and Cuaron's black-and-white cinematography is breathtaking, but they seem just slightly at odds with one another. Throughout Roma's runtime I was engaged and in awe of each of these aspects respectively, but rarely at the same time. In a similar vein, Cuaron seems stuck between two films: an intimate, empathetic look into Cleo's life, and an atmospheric nostalgia piece. Again, we get plenty of both, but rarely do they coalesce into something truly immersive. Hey, maybe I just expected too much from this, but I can't shake the feeling something is off. Like Cuaron left something on the table, or maybe it's all there but he didn't calibrate it just right. The compassion I certainly felt for Cleo should have culminated into a devastatingly tender moment during that final scene, instead of simply a great appreciation for its construction (doesn't help that the film's most important shot is on the damn poster). I'm hoping a second viewing at some point shows that everything does indeed gel into the vision Alfonso Cuaron intended, but for now, I can only say that Roma is a good film with great technical prowess, but an inconsistent emotional current.

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