First, this isn’t a review, so I’m not going to give anything away about Alfonso Cuarón’s latest film, Roma. Indeed, I went out of may way to go into the movie knowing as little as possible about it, and I’d strongly recommend that you do the same.
Instead, the purpose of this post is to try to get as many people as possible to see Roma in a movie theater. Why, you may ask, should I plunk down my hard earned cash to see Roma in a theater when it’s now available to stream for “free” on Netflix? In the spirit of not rehashing ground that’s already been well hashed over, I’ll pull a quote from Dana Steven’s beautiful review of the film for Slate:
I rarely get evangelical about viewing modalities, but if there’s any way to do so where you live, please get yourself to a real theater to see this. So much of what’s special about it—the widescreen compositions, the complex sound mix, the fluid shifts in scale—would be lost on a home TV screen, much less a laptop. Roma is hypnotic and transporting and sublime, everything a movie seen on the big screen ought to be. Seeing it in a theater will not only give you a far better experience of the film itself, it’ll demonstrate to Netflix—a company many in the film industry regard as an existential threat to their art form—that audiences still consider some movies worth leaving home for.
I’ll just add one more thing, which is that seeing any film in a theater is a forcing function for focus. And, I’ll be honest, I found the first 20 minutes or so of Roma to be very slow. “Is this movie actually about anything?,” is a question that came to mind over that span. Well, it turns out that the movie is about everything, which is what makes it so deeply affecting. And the film’s laconic introduction is key to that impact, because it draws you into the life of its main character strand by strand, so slowly that by the time key events occur in that character’s life, you feel the weight of those events with her and perhaps even as her. Had I been watching Roma at home on Netflix, I’m certain that my focus would have wandered during those seemingly inconsequential opening 20 minutes or so, to the great detriment of my experience of the film as a whole.
So, please see Roma and, if at all possible, see it for the first time in a movie theater. Here in the Portland area it’s showing at the wonderful Hollywood Theatre (they only list showtimes through December 20th, so you may have to hurry). The official Web site for the film includes a search feature so that you can find a screening near you, but it didn’t offer up the Hollywood Theatre when I searched in Portland, so you may be better off simply Googling “Roma movie showtimes.” And, if you do manage to see Roma in a theater, let’s talk about it—hit me up on Twitter @edotkim and tell me what you thought about it.