Saturday, February 2, 2019

Phil sees ROMA at the 3Below Theaters & Louge - February 1, 2019

Theatrical Movie Poster (2018)

Starring Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Nancy García García, Daniela Demesa, Diego Cortina Autrey, Carlos Peralta, Verónica García
Written by Alfonso Cuarón
Cinematography by Alfonso Cuarón
Edited by Alfonso Cuarón, Adam Gough
Produced by Alfonso Cuarón, Gabriela Rodriguez, Nicolas Celis
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
Releases by Netflix

It's been a while since I've watched a movie in a theater, but with all the praise and attention I've been hearing about today's film, I decided to treat myself to a cinematic adventure! So, I headed over to the awesome 3Below Theaters and Lounge here in Downtown San Jose to watch one of the most visually stunning, heart strings pulling, emotionally charged and, in my humble opinion, of the best films so far of 2019! Now the film was actually released late December of last year, so I'm pretty later to the game. But like the old saying goes, "Better that than never." And so, I finally got to see ROMA up on the big screen!

The film's official synopsis: The most personal project to date from Academy Award-winning director and writer Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien), ROMA follows Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a young domestic worker for a family in the middle-class neighborhood of Roma in Mexico City. Delivering an artful love letter to the women who raised him, Cuarón draws on his own childhood to create a vivid and emotional portrait of domestic strife and social hierarchy amidst political turmoil of the 1970s.

It's nice to see writer/director Alfonso Cuarón return to his roots; creating a thoughtful, provocative, emotional, and personal style of film! While his previous films GRAVITY, CHILDREN OF MEN, and HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN were a great platform to show off his directing chops, it was his coming-of-age masterpiece Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN that made me a fan. Here, Cuarón restrains himself with several long, unedited takes, simple set-ups and compositions, and panning the camera either left or right; creating an intricate and intimate work of art! His camera lingers for several seconds, even minutes, taking the audience into this world that we are unfamiliar with, and making us feel as if we're a part of it.

Credit also goes to Cuarón for the look of the movie, shooting on 65mm in black and white, which we hardly never see these days!! By doing this, the film has the feel of an old photograph; telling us a story that we have never heard of. By shooting in black and white, the movie takes on a variety of emotions. It's beautiful yet bleak, breathtaking and haunting, it's raw and unflinching with its characters, but we're emotionally invested with everyone that we cannot help feel sympathetic with all of them. Again, it's very reminiscent of Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN and that's a very high compliment!!

Bringing this movie to life requires a talented cast, and our lead actress Yalitza Aparicio, who portrays Cleo, is absolutely amazing! Her performance was just stunningly gripping and emotionally powerful and real! Now to my surprise, this was her acting debut!! Holy shit!! If this was her first film, just imagine how much more she'll grow as an actress in the next several years!! I cannot wait to see her again in future movies!!

As I write this review, the movie has garnered so much attention and acclaim that it's been nominated for ten, count them, TEN Academy Awards already! Some of the film's nominations include Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Aparicio), Best Cinematography, and Best Foreign Film for example! I, for one, will be watching the Oscars very closely because this film deserves to win all ten nominations!!

ROMA is my pick for Best Film of 2019!! This was such a magnificent film and a return for Cuarón that I'm very excited for him, his cast and crew, and for the film itself! Even though it is also streaming on Netflix (they are the films distributor), I would seriously recommend you to see it at your local theater if it's screening there! To see it on the big screen is a cinematic experience that you will want to witness!! May favorite film so far this year!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

ROMA is playing in select theaters in a limited theatrical run in select cities nationwide, including the 3Below Theaters & Louge here in Downtown San Jose. To view showtimes, visit their website at The film is also streaming exclusively on Netflix. To start your subscription, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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