Just a thought… Two heads are better than one only if they contain different opinions. [Kenneth Kaye]
So early in the year and already I have a confession to make. I am not crazy about one of the biggest, buzziest films of the 2018/19 season. It’s taking a lot of courage on my part to stand up and say this, being the “people pleaser” I try to be on so many fronts (Trumpsters being the main exception), and acknowledging the fact that so many people who are far, far more knowledgeable and accomplished in film criticiquing than I am are running out of superlatives to praise it. But here goes.
I didn’t love Roma.
Set in 1970s Mexico and shot in meticulous digital black and white by the film’s director and writer himself, famed Gravity creator Alfonso Cuarón, it’s the story – loosely – of a young housekeeper (in a home much like that in which Cuarón grew up) who finds herself in times of personal turmoil while the city around her, Mexico City, is also surging with range and change. The film’s climax (one of two, perhaps, if that’s possible) is one that brings together both the young woman and the politics around her in one tense and heartrending series of moments. And yet…and yet….
It wasn’t the fact there were subtitles (not a challenge for us), nor was it that our bedazzled brains got to settle back and enjoy the nuances of black and white for a change. I did find a character or two for whom I could root and sigh. But did I care deeply enough to connect and take this film with me for a few days to savour, ponder, reflect upon and truly appreciate more as time went by? Nope.
Far more touching to me was the brutally honest, heartwrenching and touching standup special Nanette with Hannah Gadsby. I swear to you at times it was like watching the most famous breakdown point of the acclaimed film Network. In a Twitter-sized summary, Hannah, who’s openly lesbian, declares she may no longer be able to do comedy because she needs to address the pain that surrounds it for her – and the changes that have to be made.
I couldn’t quite believe what I was watching and I want to take her bravery and determination with me as I decide the tone of public speaking I take on in the future. The right mixture of laughter, honesty, tears, frustration and searching – always searching – for hope.
Those were the moments I’ll remember among the bingeing and the sampling over the Christmas holidays. The delicious all-you-can-eat buffet of delights that is The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, the multiple espresso-fueled jolt I felt over watching Nanette, and the curious chef’s special that was Roma. How fortunate we are that the choices are so varied and that there are plenty for all.
Have a great day – and we’ll have more here tomorrow.