The truth about Roma

romaTHE 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.

  1. Filmed in black and white.
  2. There are subtitles.
  3. The star is Mexican
  4. 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.

15 thoughts on “The truth about Roma

  1. Felipe: Politics aside, as well as movies, because I don’t go to movies, I wait for them to go on Netflix, or the android box. I find black-and-white movies boring, because life is in colour, and there is no reason to fake that in a movie. I exempt photographs because they are a static art form that can be studied. For that reason, I can’t comment on upcoming Oscars. They frequently are given to someone who should have won in the past, but didn’t because it was being given to someone who should have won the year before, etc.

    I will however take you to task regarding Bob Dylan. Cumulatively, he has written on human and civil rights, and his lyrics have spanned generations. That his literature was included in songs merely made it more available to the majority of people, who rarely open a book. His music, along with that of the Beatles, changed the lives and thinking of the Baby Boomers and beyond in a good way. If that isn’t deserving of a Nobel Prize, what would be?

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    1. Kris: We almost never sit in a movie theater either for the same reason: Netflix. Love it.

      And if you think Bob Dylan’s music deserves a Nobel Prize, well, I am left speechless. Not long after that happened, I came upon a commentary by someone (wish I had saved it) who said he was a big fan of Dylan’s music (I never was) but that the Nobel Committee must have made the decision under the influence of too much ganja. How true.

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      1. Nice to hear you’re no fan of Bob Zimmerman. Me neither. He can’t play the accordion. He can’t sing. He can barely play the guitar. But he does write some good lyrics if you’re into that stuff. I’m not. “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” is probably my favourite BD song. But I digress …

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      2. Felipe: Remember his Nobel was for literature. Leonard Cohen was much less…melodious, shall we say, and he is also highly regarded for his work.

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        1. Kris: How did Leonard Cohen get into this exchange? I’m a fan of Cohen, especially his early stuff. R.I.P.

          Yes, Dylan’s Nobel was for (chuckle) literature. And he certainly deserves to be in the company of the folks I listed (chuckle).

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      1. Felipe: No, have not, like I said, it’s black and white, and if you’re reading the words you can’t watch the movie. There are lots of movies on Netflix that would probably be good, but I’m not a fan of foreign language films. After 11 years of not using Spanish, I wouldn’t understand much.

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    2. Kris, P.S.: Not to dwell too long on Bob Dylan because he’s not the topic here, but I cannot help myself. I just took a look at Lit. winners down through the years. The committee has deposited hippie crooner Bob Dylan in the same camp with:

      1. Rudyard Kipling.
      2. Anatole France.
      3. William Butler Yeats.
      4. George Bernard Shaw.
      5. Henri Bergson.
      6. Thomas Mann.
      7. Sinclair Lewis.
      8. Eugene O’Neill.
      9. Pearl Buck.
      10, Hermann Hesse.
      11. André Gide.
      12. T.S. Elliot.
      13. William Faulkner.
      14. Bertrand Russell.
      15. Winston Churchill.
      16. Ernest Hemingway.
      17. John Steinbeck.
      18. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
      19. Pablo Neruda.
      20. Gabriel García Márquez.
      21. Octavio Paz.

      Well, I could go on, but I won’t. Certainly, Mr. Tambourine Man is worthy of that company.

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  2. I’ll watch it on Netflix. I would’t have otherwise.

    I know some people from Oaxaca. They have been here for years, own a good restaurant, but have fake papers. Good folks, but illegal nonetheless.

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  3. I’d be very surprised if the Oscars haven’t been political all along. I don’t watch movies to speak of; the last Best Picture I remember seeing was Forrest Gump. It was fine, but if that was a Best Picture, I have to believe I wasn’t missing much at the movie theater.

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    1. Creigh: Political all along? Perhaps to a degree. Probably relating to Hollywood politics more than national politics, I think. But nothing like today’s rabid divisions.

      Forrest Gump was a fun movie. Did not recall that it won the Best Picture award. Seems ill-placed, or maybe it was just a slow year for movies.

      I want to give you a tip ‘o the sombrero, señor Gordon. You’re one of the very few people on the political left who leaves comments here now and then and who does it with courtesy and intelligence. I appreciate it.

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