I have put off writing about Roma even though I have seen it twice (and intend to see it many more times). I have seen it at home on Netflix and also in 70mm at the beautiful Chicago movie palace, The Music Box. Let me say that both modes were wonderful. Roma is a film for the ages and its brilliance comes out in both formats. So if someone tells you that the only way you can appreciate it is on the big screen, just smile and walk away.
You don’t need me to tell you why this movie is an instant classic. It has been written about endlessly. But I can tell you how I feel about it.
What makes me so happy about the success of Roma is that it is such a cinematic movie. I know that sounds redundant, but most mainstream films are basically illustrated stories, and they are approached and discussed at the plot level only. You can’t do that with Roma. There is not enough ‘plot’ to discuss. What there is, is pure cinema. The characters, the story, the sense of place and history, these are all conveyed in purely cinematic terms. Something to make Hitchcock’s heart sing.
And it is amazingly popular. You would think such a cinematic film would be too austere to be so beloved. What I encounter is people telling me how much they love it, but they don’t know what to say about it. I think that is wonderful.
It is the triumph of image over dialogue. Norma Desmond is smiling on us from wherever she wound up.