‘Gloria Bell’ inhabits a world most films don’t go to
3 stars (out of 4)
“Gloria Bell” features Julianne Moore playing a fairly ordinary, middle-aged divorcee in her fifties with two grown children. Michael Cera plays her son, and her daughter is yoga instructor who is in love with a big wave surfer from Sweden.
Both of the kids don’t have time for her. She’s working as an insurance adjuster. Her only source of relief and joy seems to be going out to a disco club inhabited by people in their fifties and sixties, where she becomes a dancing queen and occasionally meets people. The movie is about this one person she meets, played by John Turturro.
The film is a remake almost scene-for-scene of a Chilean film that was nominated for Best Foreign Language a couple of years ago by a very gifted director named Sebastian Lelio. The thing the movie does, that I think is exceptional, is that you get a sense of the texture of her life.
She’s playing a woman who is lonely and unattached, and is just thrilled for any male attention. The film works and has a series of surprises, some of which are so painful. This is a film that inhabits a world that most films don’t go to. Usually in movies you have people who are either miserable and in trouble, having a difficult time, or you have people who are superheroes and secret agents.
This is one of those movies for the rest of us, people whose lives are not terrible, but not perfect. The characters are so real. There’s a scene where she has a dinner with her children and their partners and her ex-husband with his wife, who is played by Jeanne Tripplehorn. It’s one of those films where you keep wondering what led to this divorce with these nice and sympathetic people.
The film goes in very unexpected directions which are a little bit inconclusive. I don’t think they are preparing a sequel, but if they did, I would go and see it. If anyone sees it and remembers it later in the year, it is certainly a Best Actress possibility. “Gloria Bell” is not quite glorious, but darn good.