Thanks for your comments, Cameron. The fact that Roma succeeds as a movie despite avoiding many conventions of Hollywood filmmaking is a testament to this fact: STORY IS ORGANIC. Yes, there are patterns, paradigms, and expectations, but there is no right way to tell a cinematic story. This is especially true of character-driven narratives. If we get caught up in the lives of the story’s characters, no matter how much the narrative departs from conventional patterns, so what? Our emotional connection to the characters pulls us into and through the unfolding narrative. Some may critique Roma because they don’t recognize it having a plot (I think they are wrong), but then how do you explain the movie’s resounding success with audiences? It still works as a story!
Movies like Roma are a great reminder that there is so much more we can do as screenwriters than follow some cookie cutter approach to screenplay structure. The human experience is so much more than a paint-by-numbers approach to the story-crafting process. The complex nature of characters and their unfolding destinies can lead writers to story structures which allow for compelling narratives… and they can work no matter how different they are from traditional fare.
Thus endeth my sermon!