There’s something deeply personal about director Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma.” That much is very clear. This semi-autobiographical film takes place in the safe and protected world of Cuarón’s childhood.
There’s nothing flashy or sensational about “Roma” or its main character, Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a maid for a middle class family in the Colonia Roma neighborhood of Mexico City. We watch her days, over the course of a year, cleaning and caring for the family.
We see brief moments of Cleo’s life outside her work, moments that lead to an unwanted pregnancy and moments that show the turmoil of the outside world. The family itself is in the midst of its own kind of storm, abandoned by their patriarch. Despite these life-changing upheavals to their worlds, there’s a calmness that pervades the film.
Her relationship with the family is an interesting one. Her life is both intertwined and yet separate with theirs. She is embraced and included as one of their own, yet you never forget that she is very much apart from their privilege. Despite that, there is definitely love.
There is sadness, anger, and confusion, but never despair. Cleo and the family save each other from despair. There’s always hope.
In the end, nothing appears to have changed on the surface. Despite the events of the past year, Cleo’s days look about the same. What has changed (perhaps) is our perspective.
…just for fun: