Netflix had moderate success at the Oscars last year with three nominations for Dee Rees’ “Mudbound,” but the streaming giant is preparing for a major awards season breakthrough with new films from Oscar winners Alfonso Cuarón and the Coen Brothers, plus efforts from Paul Greengrass and Orson Welles. Cuarón’s “Roma” was the first Netflix original to make its world premiere, and the rave reviews out of the Venice Film Festival make it clear Netflix has a major awards player on its hands.
“Roma” is set in Mexico City in the early 1970s. The story centers around a middle-class family held together by a domestic worker (Yalitza Aparicio). The worker, Cleo, and the family’s matriarch, Sofia (Marina de Tavira), wrestle with changes in the family home while Mexico braces for a confrontation between the government-backed militia and student demonstrators.
IndieWire’s Eric Kohn called “Roma” Cuarón’s best movie since “Y Tu Mamá También” in his “A” review. “The movie channels Cuarón’s memories of his upbringing into a ravishing, meditative, black-and-white saga that mines its bittersweet story from the inside out,” he writes.
“Roma” is earning universal acclaim across the board. In addition to IndieWire’s perfect grade, “Roma” has received five-star reviews from The Telegraph and The Guardian. Robbie Collin of The Telegraph writes the film is “sweeping and heart-quickeningly intimate,” while The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw hails “Roma” as Cuarón’s best offering to date, high praise considering “Gravity” won him the Oscar for best director in 2014.
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“‘Roma’ is his best film so far: a thrilling, engrossing and moving picture with a richly personal story to tell, beautifully and dynamically shot in pellucid black and white,” Bradshaw writes.
Rave reviews can also be found from Little White Lies (critic David Jenkins refers to it as the director’s “masterpiece,” a film that is “extraordinary and expansive”), The Playlist (Jessica Kiang says it’s “immensely moving”), TIME (“A film of such delicate power that it feels strangely wrong to characterize it as ‘great,’ says Stephanie Zacharek), and Screen International, where chief film critic Fionnuala Halligan raved “Roma” is a “glorious technical achievement.”
Cuarón not only directed “Roma,” but he also served as his own cinematographer, editor, and screenwriter. Netflix has not given the movie an official release date, although a December rollout on the streaming platform and in theaters around the globe is expected.