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493. Roma; movie review

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Title : 493. Roma; movie review
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Cert 15
135 mins
BBFC advice: Contains disturbing images, strong language

With 24 hours left of 2018 and I was scurrying to catch up with films which I know I really should not miss.
Near the top of the list was Alfonso Cuarón's Roma - a movie which has already scooped prestigious awards and is tipped for more.
Far from Italy, this semi-autobiographical work is set in Colonia Roma, a neighbourhood in Mexico City where the director was raised.
Filmed in black and white, it dates back to 1970 and 1971, following the life of a live-in house-keeper  (Yalitza Aparicio) to a family which has been pulled apart by a marital split.
Marina de Tavira plays Sofia, the mother of four whose feckless husband has walked out, leaving her with no income.
Roma is wonderfully atmospheric - capturing the joys and fears of the four children and their naivety in not understanding what is unfolding around them.
It also highlights the loyalty of the house-keeper and other servants who are often on the end of a verbal bruising.
And then there is commentary on the violence in the neighbourhood where guns seem far too readily available and on the very casual view of men towards women in both the middle and lower classes.
There is tragedy, pathos and a deep soul to Roma. Its direction is so subtle that its characters give the impression of being in a documentary.
It also looks wonderful - but that is no surprise because Cuarón has already proved how he can light up a cinema screen with Gravity.
However, in common with his science fiction award-winner, I was left feeling dissatisfied with Roma's finale which felt as if it were leaning into a series or sequel.
Indeed, just as with Gravity, it needed stopping about three minutes before its end.
Then I would have said it is an Oscar contender. For me, it is skillfully made but does not deserve to be on the podium.

Reasons to watch: It's an Oscar contender
Reasons to avoid: Takes too long to grab

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: Yes
Overall rating: 8.5/10

Director quote - Alfonso Cuarón: “In this case, all of the research was internal. The characters, they exist in real life. It’s people that I love deeply. I had to take a journey through my own memories, through the labyrinth of memory, and also conversations with the people who were there and who experienced those events with me.”

The big question - Why has there always been such a gap between haves and have-nots?

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