Oscar Special - Roma

500 Days Of Film Reviews Roma, Starring Yalitza Aparicio

From the experiences of Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a young domestic worker for a family in the middle-class neighbourhood of Roma in Mexico City, comes a vivid and emotional portrait of domestic strife and social hierarchy amidst the political turmoil of the 1970s.

Oscar Potential

Roma has been nominated for ten Academy Awards. These are:

  • Best Film
  • Best Director - Alfonso Cuaron
  • Best Actress - Yalitza Aparicio
  • Best Supporting Actress - Marina de Tavira
  • Best Original Screenplay
  • Best Foreign Language Film
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Sound Editing
  • Best Sound Mixing

Roma looks likely to scoop up four Oscars - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Foreign Language Film.


Is It Any Good?

First comes the buzz. A film will soon be arriving on a screen near you - a movie beloved by audiences and critics alike. A must see, awards contender.


Nonetheless, despite the evangelical chatter, wariness and fear emerge. How can this film hope to live up to the hype? Perhaps we should prepare ourselves for disappointment. 


Occasionally, however, a movie comes along that meets these expectations… and then some. Roma is one of those movies. Whether you watch it on a cinema screen (during its limited theatrical release) or via Netflix at home, do watch Alfonso Cuarón’s beautiful film.


The story follows Cleo - a maid working for a middle-class family in Mexico City. We watch as she attends to her list of chores (waiting on and clearing up after the children, their parents and the family’s dog) and see glimpses of Cleo's time away from work.


Slowly (and make no mistake, Roma is a slow burn), a life is revealed. A life that is both exquisitely intimate (Netflix describes it as Cuarón’s artful love letter to the women who raised him), political and also wonderfully universal. 


Cleo’s experiences may not resemble our own and they may, on occasion, feel mundane. Nonetheless, we recognise their relevance to our own lives. For beneath the surface of Roma lie fundamental questions that we all struggle to answer. 


What is our place in this world? How much control do we have over our own lives? Who truly cares for us and values our existence? Whose lives are made better simply because of our presence? How quickly can our lives change forever?



In addition to telling a beautiful, intimate and powerful story (be warned, several scenes will break your heart), Cuarón also impresses with his visual and sound design. While shot in black and white, Roma feels full of life and colour. The film dazzles on the screen.


The camera is Roma’s storyteller. For example, there are sequences when Cuarón delays showing us what we are desperate to see, information that we are desperate to know. The tension is palpable in these moments.


Meanwhile, the sounds of life literally burst out of Roma. The film feels incredibly rich, natural and utterly immersive. Do watch this movie on the biggest screen with the best sound system you can find.


Roma is a stunning film that will reward frequent watches - a new movie classic that fully deserves all the hype and praise (and awards) that come its way.


Random Observations

Have you seen Roma?


If you have, what did you think of this movie? Let me know in the comments section below or via Twitter. You can find me @500DaysOfFilm.

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Jane Douglas-Jones
Jane Douglas-Jones

E: jane@500daysoffilm.com


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