What You Need to Know About “Roma”

A girlfriend sent a text to me this weekend that made me snort-laugh in the middle of Kroger. It said:
“I just noticed that Roma is on Netflix. Am I gonna like it or is it too artsy-fartsy?”
I think the world is filled with people who are asking that same question right now, since Roma is on Netflix and readily available to so many of us.
So, is this foreign-language film, which has garnered so much Oscar-buzz and three Golden Globes already, something that the general Dwayne-the-Rock-Johnson-loving public will appreciate? Or should they just skip it and binge watch Great News again?
I’ve seen Roma and believe that it IS something anyone could enjoy, but there are a few things you should know going into it.
First of all, Roma is the story of a family living in Mexico City during the early 1970’s. It’s told from the point-of-view of their maid, Cleo, who experiences a tremendous upheaval in her own life while helping the family she works for cope with their own issues. Roma, at it’s heart, is about the people who have to stay strong and pick up the pieces when the life falls apart, and is reportedly based on director Alfonso Cuarón’s actual life. It is gorgeous and sad and, even without subtitles, something we can all relate to.
Roma is slow though. It clocks in at two hours and fifteen minutes but moves at a pace that makes it feel a little longer. That’s the beauty of Netflix though. You can simply turn it off and come back later if you need to. Do come back though, because the last twenty minutes of Roma are what make it one of the best films of 2019.
You might want to think twice before watching Roma with your kids, though. The MPAA gave it an R rating for “graphic nudity, some disturbing images, and language,” but it’s that graphic nudity that gives me pause. It comes in the form of a post-coital martial-arts demonstration that Cleo’s boyfriend puts on for her. He’s completely nude during the entire display (which made ME think, “Run Cleo, RUN!”). There is violence and profanity elsewhere in the movie, as well as some disturbing images during the birth of a baby, but there’s nothing else in Roma that I feel would damage kids. I would recommend it to mature 13-year-olds and up, but be ready to fast-forward during that martial-arts scene.
In fact, it might be beneficial for older kids to watch Roma and see a family who speaks a different language and lives in a different country, but still looks like them. This story might be based in the early 1970’s, but it still represents the same issues we face today. Roma is about love, loss, and the people who care for us when the other shoe drops. It’s about the things that bind us as humans and make our existence bearable, if not always beautiful.
In other words, YES Roma IS artsy-fartsy but in the best possible way and YES, you definitely should see it! (A+)

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