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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Bravery is required to endure hardship. It's important to face your fears if you want to come to terms with an inner conflict.
Positive Role Models
For most of the film, Cleo simply struggles and endures, but she becomes a hero when she rescues two children from drowning in rough ocean waves; her act is doubly brave, considering she can't swim.
Violence & Scariness
Intense sequence of a student demonstration becoming a riot. A man shoots another man. Guns pointed. Blood shown. Dead bodies. Tension, arguing, yelling.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sustained sequence of full-frontal male nudity; a naked man performs martial arts moves. Implied sex between a man and a woman; the woman becomes pregnant. Couples kiss. An extramarital affair is suggested/mentioned.
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Uses of "f--k" and "s--t," plus "a--hole," "crap," "goddamn."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Social drinking. Some smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Roma is a drama, in Spanish and Mixtec (a native dialect used in some parts of Mexico) with English subtitles, from Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuaron (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Gravity). Telling the story of a maid and the troubled family she lives with, circa 1971-1972, it's a gorgeous, moving masterpiece, but it includes some very mature material. There's a scene in which a student demonstration turns violent; guns are drawn, and characters are shot and killed. Some blood is shown. There's also tension, arguing, and shouting. A sustained sequence of full-frontal nudity is shown as a naked man demonstrates his martial arts moves. Kissing is shown, and sex is suggested. "S--t" and "f--k" are used (spelled out in the subtitles). Characters drink socially, mainly at a New Year's party, and smoke. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Director Alfonso Cuaron follows up the excellent Gravity the best way he can, by going back to his childhood to make this loving ode to the women who raised him. The film is a poetic, crystalline visual glory, demonstrating Cuaron's graceful, effortless, yet complete command over light, space, and rhythm. It recalls films like Sunrise and The Night of the Hunter, as well as European masters like Bresson, Fellini, and Antonioni. But thematically, it's all Cuaron's, as he follows his characters moving through impressively beautiful, massive, and sometimes threatening space. He continues to use his trademark sustained, unbroken shots, and while he's already proven himself a master at the use of color, here his use of black-and-white proves that he's just as adept with shadows and textures. (The opening shot, with an airplane reflected in a puddle on the floor, is a beauty.) And his detailed recreation of early-'70s Colonia Roma is impeccable, from the music and food to the cars and the use of very Mexican expressions.
Cleo, who represents the reality of millions of domestic employees in Latin America who basically do everything in the house, including waking kids up in the morning and supervising them at night, is a curious character. She's seemingly impassive, almost as if shy to show her emotions. But when she does, it's tender and moving. Roma really puts her through the ringer, but as in Cuaron's other stories of women (A Little Princess, Gravity, etc.), his approach is delicate and affectionate; he never bludgeons. Cleo's trials and tribulations are foreshadowed with little omens, such as a small earthquake in a hospital or a fire, that are almost indirect suggestions of conflict. Even moments of intensity, as when a demonstration turns into a violent riot or Cleo gives birth, are handled as if the viewer were in shock or disbelief. The filmmaker is on our side, not trying to bash us over the head. Most affecting and most memorable are the small, fleeting moments of joy and beauty, touches that make Roma another Cuaron masterpiece.
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