Roma is the kind of movie that I didn’t know I wanted to see in 2018. So far, we’ve delved into films about futility and losing as recurring themes in 2018. Shot in glorious black and white, the lack of detail forces you to examine what is present on the surface. Two women defined by class are about to experience what it means to be abandoned. This isn’t TV Movie of the Week kind of abandoning. It’s the brutal real world kind that destroys a way of life.
Alfonso Cuaron is probably one of the best directors of this decade. When discussing the man’s work, I often feel the need to call him Kubrick with a heart. That’s not to say that Kubrick was nasty, but he was cold. When Cleo is in the hospital after her pregnancy has complications, the sterile look at the worst day in her life never blinks. Everything is treated matter of fact, as Cleo gets further and further separated from her only support unit.
When Cleo and the family matriach take the kids to the beach, things suddenly have to come together. Both women are hanging on by threads, as they believe to can still navigate their troubled lives. It’s only by working together through selflessness that they find something better. Still, the film doesn’t let either woman’s station change. Sofia is still a rich woman who is making her way after her husband leaves, while Cleo is just a maid.
They can do things for each other and understand what it means to be troubled women. However, Sofia isn’t giving up her life to help Cleo out a bit. Darkly sardonic, it’s a bit of humor that I think most early reviews missed. Even in the 1970s, there is always someone willing to step into a class role. No matter what gets changed, someone has to be the boss. This film keeps getting better every time I see it.