Review: ROMA Isn’t As Good As They Say

FIRST IMPRESSION

Roma has great visuals and sound design, but it's largely straightforward and underwhelming script means that it is not worthy of such high praise.
Writing
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

Roma is the newest film by director Alfonso Cuarón. It made a huge splash upon its debut at the Venice Film Festival and has been steadily gaining awards buzz ever since. It is inspired by Cuarón’s childhood, chronicling a year in the life of a maid to an upper-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970’s.

The visuals of the movie are definitely beautiful. The black-and-white cinematography is absolutely amazing, with plenty of eye-catching framing and smooth camera movements. That being said, it didn’t feel entirely necessary. If Cuarón was trying to give the film a more personal feel, why is it so polished? Yes, it’s gorgeous, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot when it lacks substance.

The sound design is excellent too. This movie truly does have some of the best use of sound in any movie this year. The way in which diegetic sounds are used is brilliant, but the film also knows how to use silence effectively. The soundscape is pretty much the only element in the movie that has the desired effect of creating immersion.

roma beach

Yalitza Aparicio is also a highlight of the film. Her story is quite impressive, as she has never acted before and almost didn’t audition. The movie honestly wouldn’t have been the same without her. She infuses a significant amount of emotion into the film, and she even sells some of the more ridiculous scenes.

That being said, the movie definitely isn’t a masterpiece. It is understandable why so many people love the film, but it doesn’t deserve the nearly universal acclaim which it is receiving. It falls into the style-over-substance category of films, and if you can get past its lack of narrative depth, you will likely be able to get behind its technical complexity.

The theme of the movie is very straightforward. It’s hard to not pick up on the film’s messages about social class, being open-minded, and perseverance, because the movie repeatedly bashes them over the head of the audience until they are so deep in your mind that you may just be open-minded to the movie’s inconsistencies.

roma neighborhood

Another major issue with the film is that the supporting characters are significantly underdeveloped. Yes, the story is focused on making the audience sympathize with and relate to Cleo, but it could have been more effective in delivering its message had the supporting characters been more rounded and interesting.

Some of the dialogue is very odd too. It is entirely possible that some of this issue can be attributed to language barriers. Some idioms and expressions just don’t transfer between languages. A phrase that can be deep and profound in Spanish may just seem mundane in English. That being said, the movie is redundant at times. Many scenes just go too far, with the dialogue repeating itself.

Furthermore, the film is very excessive and self-indulgent. There are some scenes in the movie that are unabashedly bizarre, and they don’t really work within the greater context. For example, there is a scene in which a character does a martial arts demonstration while fully nude. In hindsight, it is easy to see where it fits within the plot, but it is weird and excessive.

Overall, Roma was a very underwhelming film. It’s pretty to look at and listen to, but that’s about it. The script isn’t particularly well-written.

Roma is now available on Netflix.

TRENDING THIS WEEK

Black Box – Official Trailer

#WelcomeToTheBlumhouse #BlackBoxMovie Directed by Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour Jr. (Born With It) and script by Osei-Kuffour Jr. and Stephen Herman, Black Box stars Mamoudou Athie (Jurassic World 3, The Circle), Phylicia Rashad (Creed), Amanda Christine (Colony), Tosin Morohunfola (The Chi, The 24th), Charmaine Bingwa (Trees of Peace, Little Sista), and Troy James (The Flash, Scary Stories to…

‘I Am A Messenger’ Teaser | The Good Lord Bird | SHOWTIME

Ethan Hawke stars as abolitionist John Brown in a humorous, dramatic and historical tapestry of Antebellum America. A Limited Event Series based on the award winning novel by author James McBride. Watch the premiere on Sunday, October 4 at 9/8c on SHOWTIME. #SHOWTIME #TheGoodLordBird Subscribe to the SHOWTIME YouTube channel: http://goo.gl/esCMib Don’t have SHOWTIME? Order…

Live Guide • This is How U Hulu with Brad Hall

Live in the moment with Brad Hall. Watch as he shows you what’s on and what’s upcoming with the Hulu Live Guide. SUBSCRIBE TO HULU’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL Click the link to subscribe to our channel for the latest shows & updates: http://www.youtube.com/hulu?sub_confi START YOUR FREE TRIAL http://hulu.com/start FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hulu/ Hulu on…

Get Ready for the 2020 Election w/ THE CIRCUS | SHOWTIME

The 2020 presidential election is nearing, Trump and Biden’s campaigns are in full swing, and THE CIRCUS has the coverage, interviews, and analysis you need as you prepare to vote. Watch new episodes on Sundays at 8/7c on SHOWTIME. Subscribe to THE CIRCUS YouTube channel: https://goo.gl/gfoZtd #SHOWTIME #SHOCircus Subscribe to the SHOWTIME YouTube channel: http://goo.gl/esCMib…

We Are Who We Are: In The Weeks Ahead | HBO

Time will tell. #HBO #WeAreWhoWeAre Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 From Luca Guadagnino, the director of Call Me By Your Name, We Are Who We Are follows a group of teens growing up on an American Army base outside of Venice, Italy struggling to find their own identities as they move into young-adulthood. Official…

Lovecraft Country Radio: Strange Case | Episode 5 | HBO

In this episode of Lovecraft Country Radio, hosts Ashley C. Ford and Shannon Houston discuss Episode 5: "Strange Case." Eric Eddings, host of The Nod Show and For Colored Nerds, joins the conversation to discuss how black male anger is portrayed in the episode. The hosts also discuss the different forms that code-switching can take…

Utopia Official REDBAND Trailer | Prime Video

WARNING: This redband trailer is uncensored and contains graphic violence, so don’t watch in front of any kids. The twisted adventure in Utopia begins September 25th on Amazon Prime Video. When the conspiracy in the elusive comic Utopia is real, a group of young fans come together to embark on a high-stakes twisted adventure to…

Lovecraft Country Radio: Meet Me in Daegu | Episode 6 | HBO

In this episode of Lovecraft Country Radio, hosts Ashley C. Ford and Shannon Houston discuss Episode 6: "Meet Me In Daegu." First, they sit down with Jamie Chung, who plays Ji-ah, and discuss the episode's themes of monstrousness and the character's coming-of-age journey. Then, they're joined by Inkoo Kang, TV critic for The Hollywood Reporter,…
Avatar
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here