The Christian Science Monitor

Forget the Oscars: Why ‘Roma’ resonates with three Monitor families

The movie “Roma,” vying for 10 Oscars on Sunday, including best picture, is an homage to domestic workers. For three Mexico City-based Monitor correspondents, it’s an homage to one particular domestic worker – Veronica.

The movie by Alfonso Cuarón is set in Colonia Roma, the Mexico City neighborhood where he was raised in the 1970s. The movie focuses its lens on Cleo, the nanny to four children in a middle-class Mexican household whom the director says was inspired by his own caregiver.

By telling their story through the perspective of the nanny, the movie takes an intimate look at racism, classism, and marginalization – and also the authentic love that forms from the natural mothering role that a nanny assumes.

In some ways Cleo bears little resemblance to Veronica, who has cared for three Monitor households and five Monitor children. To call Veronica a domestic worker feels off, even though by definition she counts among the roughly 2.5 million of them in Mexico – putting children to bed, preparing them for school, cooking family meals, and folding clothes.

Veronica grew up poor. One of 10 siblings born in Mexico City, she had to start work at age 14, with just an elementary school

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