many popular (and a few even great) dramas have been born from the world of service, mostly set in the Upstairs-Downstairs world of British aristocracy. from Downton Abbey to Remains of the Day, the class conflicts between servants and masters seems evergreen. but even the best of those manor house stories didn't prepare me for the emotional gut punch of Alfonso Cuaron's autobiographical remembering of his childhood in Mexico City's middle-class Roma neighborhood.

largely a love letter to the Mexican domestic who raised him (Cleo), it also paints a nuanced portrait of the bourgeois family -- his put-upon mother in particular -- in which Cuaron grew up. describing it merely as a domestic drama, however, fails to due justice to the richness and scope of Roma. set in the year of 1971 against a backdrop of political conflict in the streets, the images that tell Cleo's story are grand and powerful. shot in 65mm black & white that is both lustrous and razor-sharp, Cuaron uses long, slow panning shots to capture the breadth of every scene. Fellini, Lean, Truffaut, and Bertolucci are just four masters I felt in different shots or sequences throughout.

Neftlix isn't making it easy to find Roma in theaters over the next few weeks before it drops on the streaming service but anyone who seeks it out will be truly rewarded by catching it on the big screen.