Nick Hernandez’s review published on Letterboxd:
I gained such a deeper appreciation for this film on rewatch. The sheer prowess on display here. Writer, director, editor, and producer. The story, the use of the narrator, the performances, the landscape.
One choice in particular I loved was the brief moment of silence right before the narrator stepped in, always heightened my attention to what was being said. And the narrator himself: never felt like he was interrupting. On the contrary, it felt like the smoothest engine for pushing the story forward without rushing or overexplaining I’ve seen from a narrator before.
And the vivid details of describing life in Mexico, especially in the first act. For example, the way the narrator describes why a man got hit by a bus or about the the three demonstrations occurring in the city in one day. And obviously the corrupt politicians.
As good as the cinematography was throughout, what stood out to me came in the first act with the shaky wandering camera and the shots from above.
Now as much as I’ve gushed over Cuarón’s work, the performances are what give this movie heart and soul. I mean the pure, raw emotions consistently on display from a young Diego Luna, Gael García Bernal, and Maribel Verdú. Just beautiful performances from all three.
And that ending was heartbreaking in the most subtle way. For Luna and Bernal to be sitting at that cafe table years later having grown apart, the depth of that scene really came from their nonverbal performances at that table and what was not said. Complete chef’s kiss to end a masterful output from Cuarón.
All-Time Favorites: When the technical skills of a filmmaker and the skills of the actors and actresses come together like this, it’s something to behold.