Report from the New York Film Festival (for Alternate Ending)


As part of my work over at Alternate Ending, I’ve written some short reviews to some of the movies I saw at this year’s New York Film Festival. So if you’re interested in that kind of thing, hop over there and you’ll find reviews of…

The Favourite, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster) and starring Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman.

ROMA, the latest movie by Alfonso Cuarón (Oscar-winning director of Gravity).

If Beale Street Could TalkBarry Jenkins’s follow-up to his beloved Moonlight.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggswhich started as a Netflix series but became a movie in which the Coen Brothers explore the western.

Below is an excerpt from my review of ROMA, which was my favorite of the four, and one of the best movies I’ve seen so far this year.

The festival’s prestigious centerpiece spot was given to Roma, which sees director Alfonso Cuarón follow up his Oscar-winning work in Gravity with a much more personal story. To say that the movie is based on Cuarón’s upbringing in 1970s Mexico City would be technically correct, but a little misleading. Unlike most directors who make movies based on their childhood, Cuarón doesn’t center the story around a little boy who stand-ins for him, but chooses instead to focus on one of the maids who worked for his middle-class family. We first see Cleo, played beautifully by Yalitza Aparicio, washing a tile floor and performing other domestic duties as family life occurs around her. The children of the house adore her, partially because her job is to take care of them, while the mother -who is going through an emotional struggle of her own- oscillates between sympathetic and cruel. At first Cleo seems to be an entry point for the movie to dig deeper into the family, but it becomes apparent rather quickly that this is her story, and that that’s the point of the movie.