By Jordan Geriane
Nominated for 10 Oscars this awards season, the critically acclaimed Netflix film “Roma” aims at more than just the simple goal of heart-wrenching and tear-jerking audiences. Captivating, moving and effortlessly authentic, the film takes place around the 1970s in Colonia Roma, Mexico City and spotlights the grueling life of a live-in maid named Cleo Gutierrez.
The audience watches on as the story follows an ever so delicate and stoic Cleo, who devotes her entire being to a family overloaded with dysfunction and tension. It is quite possible to notice the “American dream” alight in her eyes: the need to escape, the escape for a better life and the battle through never-ending pain.
It seems as if she always has a hundred more hurdles to conquer after overcoming another one hundred. With the film’s compelling cinematography and acting, the amount of heart Cleo has for her family, as well as life itself makes it quite difficult for audiences to watch unsympathetically or even turn a blind eye to the main issues at hand: Can this film be groundbreaking enough to (somewhat) influence the political climate of what has become “Trump’s America?” Can “Trump’s America” learn compassion and cultural acceptance from this film?
To be clear, Trump’s America is quite simple. President Trump has set a tone for Americans and has convinced many citizens that all outsiders are dangerous: If you are from Latin America, you are automatically considered a threat. If you aren’t Caucasian, you are considered an outsider within the country. If you are living in Mexico, according to Trump, you are still expected to help build a wall which will bar you from a better future. The answer to those previous two questions are quite debatable.
This film can and should be seen as an imputation of the dominating hypocrisy and blindness the Mexican government possesses. In this case, the United States’ government and current political climate is a perfect example of what mirrors the government in this film. Many people would be too “brainwashed” to see the deepest meanings of the movie that attempt to reach their heart strings. Whatever happened to compassion? Whatever happened to acceptance? Wasn’t the American Dream intended for everyone?
“Roma” essentially reminds audiences of all the people who are inherent “Cleos” dreaming of coming to the US in hopes of escaping the cataclysmic violence and exploitation present in Latin America. Sadly enough, the violence, prejudices, and inequalities in Mexico are just as strong as they are here in the US. Culture is slowly dissipating when things such as racism and violence are becoming increasingly more common.
While many people in ‘Trump’s America’ are worried about the specific threats crossing into the US, those who simply wish for a better life and those who are inherent “Cleos” are left neglected and invisible.
If we look at the film’s title, “Roma,” it’s “amor” spelled backwards. In Spanish, this means love. So, if the title can represent the love that Cleo has for her family, as well as for life itself, her goal of escaping a troubled life should be met with love. When those inherent “Cleos” eventually make it to the US, it is simple to only meet them with love, compassion, and acceptance. In Trump’s America, this compelling film portrays more than the story of a housemaid in Roma.