THE MOVIE Roma is receiving lots of hoopla, as is its star, an indigenous schoolteacher from the Mexican state of Oaxaca and first-time actress with the name of Yalitza Aparizio.
The hoopla perhaps is greatest over Aparizio.
At the risk of being labeled a Philistine — I don’t care — I hold a less breathy opinion of the movie and its star who has been nominated for an Academy Award (Best Actress!), something I find silly.
The movie is quite good, but it’s no Casablanca or Sophie’s Choice. It’s not even The Wild Bunch, another movie set in Mexico.
I’ve seen Casablanca maybe three times, Sophie’s Choice twice, and The Wild Bunch about 14 or 15 times. It’s a cult classic. I’m a cultist.
Roma is quite good. It has subtleties I doubt many people outside of Mexico will notice and/or understand. I’ve seen it twice. I did the repeat after reading that lots of nuances are missed the first time, so a second visit is advisable. I liked it more the first time.
But I’ll grant it’s a very good movie. That is if you can make it past the first 20-25 minutes which are glacially slow. Snooze time.
Now let’s move onto the star, Aparizio. For most of the movie her character is as deadpan as Keanu Reeves. It requires little talent to deadpan. However, this is one of the subtleties non-Mexicans will miss. Domestics in Mexico are indeed deadpan more often than not.
This is especially true if they’re indigenous.
The only scene in Roma where Aparizio shines is the segment in the hospital where she has her baby. It’s a gripping scene, and she does a great job of acting. Kudos to her.
Here is why the movie, and Aparizio especially, are receiving so much praise and why she’s laughably been nominated for an Oscar. The movie pushes all the PC buttons for Hollywood types.
- Filmed in black and white.
- There are subtitles.
- The star is Mexican
- The star is indigenous and female.
These factors have sent America’s West and Northeast coasts into a swoon. I predict the movie will win the Best Picture Oscar and Aparitzio will win as Best Actress, all for the four reasons just stated.
Recall that the 2013 Best Picture winner was 12 Years a Slave, another movie dear to politically correct hearts. After winning that year, it came to light that a number of Academy members voted for 12 Years a Slave without actually having seen the movie. Incredible.
So Aparizio will take the Oscar home.
And in another year, she will be forgotten, back to teaching in Oaxaca, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Good teachers have value.
The Oscar has become as political as the Nobel Prize, a fact that has rendered them virtually meaningless. Aparizio’s winning as Best Actress will be up there with Barry Obama winning the Peace Prize and Bob Dylan the prize for Literature. Sad.