Jewish Journal

Gloria Film Review

by Joy Bennett

March 12, 2014 | 2:22 pm

I really enjoyed this movie.  The lead actress, Paulina Garcia, plays Gloria, and owns almost every frame of the film.  She rightfully won Best Actress award at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival for this role.  Gloria tells the story of a middle-aged (not older as some reviewers have it) woman coming to terms with divorce, adult children leaving the area, romance, and life after 50.  It’s a bittersweet tale, and I found it amusing and poignant. 

Gloria lives in Santiago Chile where the movie was largely filmed, and works vaguely as some kind of office administrator.  She has two distant adult children, and an ex-husband who many years ago remarried a younger, beautiful woman.  She lives alone, with a hairless cat that isn’t even hers, but a distracted neighbors’.  Her only diversions seem to be hitting the clubs and dancing, and also singing along to disco driving about in her car. 

At the club one night, she meets a middle-aged man who is very attracted to her who is also divorced.  But as they get to know each other, his cell phone keeps ringing.   His ex is on the line.  Is he really divorced as he says?  Then why is the ex still so prominent in his life?  He has adult daughters of his own, but they too seem to be counting on him as father and provider, despite being old enough to be on their own.

The movie shows her various adventures, some funny, some a bit alarming.  yet Gloria’s joie de vivre seems to keep her afloat no matter what transpires.  After the film ends, you can almost see her hitting the clubs again, looking for another boyfriend.  You hope that this time she finds one who can really appreciate her unique beauty and love of life.  Or at least find a cat that is truly hers. 

The director, Sebastian Lelio, also co-wrote (along with Gonzalo Maza), and edited this film, and his vision is very smoothly realized.  The film is nicely paced, and very capably directed and photographed. 

And, yes, at the end, you do hear the famous disco song also named Gloria that perhaps inspired this film. Women especially will enjoy this movie, most certainly women of a certain age that face many of the same issues Gloria does.  Her spirit and unfailing smile will perhaps inspire the rest of us to stop worrying so much about sags and winkles, and enjoy life as it comes.  Gloria certainly does so charmingly and convincingly in this lovely, life-affirming film.

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Joy Bennett is a writer living in Santa Monica, California.  She is the author of Under a Quarter Moon, a poetry and short story collection; and is a contributor to the...

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