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Review: Roma

Watched Roma on Netflix. Director Alfonso Cuaron’s filmography has transported viewers to dystopian futures, magical worlds of witches and wizards, and the cold vacuum of space, but this domestic drama somehow feels like his most epic work to date, fully exploring conflicts pertaining to politics, race, ethnicity, social status, gender, and (of course) family in just over two hours. This thematic ambition, however, doesn’t diminish the narrative’s intimacy—which hardly comes as a surprise: from the very beginning of his career, Cuaron has been primarily interested in the human beings that inhabit his fantastic settings. Indeed, beneath the surface-level spectacle, the true purpose behind his trademark long takes and tracking shots has always been to allow his characters’ emotions to build and crescendo organically, rather than chopping up performances with unnecessarily excessive coverage. Roma merely further refines his already sublime cinematic style, putting him on the same level as such masters as Yasujiro Ozu, Robert Bresson, and Chantal Akerman.

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