A free-spirited woman in her 50s seeks out love at L.A. dance clubs.
The story of a divorcee in her 50s, ‘Gloria Bell’ is a film about the eponymous character discovering who she is and what she wants from her life. Remaking his 2013 film ‘Gloria’, Chilean director Sebastian Lelio transports the story from Santiago to Los Angeles, bringing in Julianne Moore to play the leading role. There aren’t many movies being made that focus on characters like Gloria Bell and there’s an air of refreshment in seeing this film squarely focus on her experiences through her own viewpoint, and there aren’t many actresses better equipped for the role than Moore.
We first meet Gloria at a club in LA, where the clientele are a little bit older and the music is a little less modern, and it’s here that she meets Arnold (John Turturro), a fellow divorcee. The two hit it off instantly and start a relationship, but their respective families from prior relationships present some obstacles. John Turturro’s easy going charisma blends well with Moore and they’re fun together, particularly when they’re alone and away from the other complications of life. Gloria has two adult children with their own things going on and part of her challenge is learning to relinquish control now that they’re all grown up. In many respects, ‘Gloria Bell’ hits the same beats and rhythms of a coming of age movie, but in this case it’s about a woman in her 50s learning to be independent and discovering what really matters to her.
Sebastian Lelio is carving out a career as one of the biggest champions of female-led storytelling and I really enjoyed two of his films from last year, ‘Disobedience’ and in particular ‘A Fantastic Woman’, which was one of my favourites last year. ‘Gloria Bell’ continues that approach of putting his female characters front and centre in a story focused solely on female experiences and whilst I do think this particular film fizzled out towards the end, Julianne Moore’s performance makes it worth sticking with to the finish, and it’ll be interesting to see what he does next.
Directed By: Sebastián Lelio
Starring: Julianne Moore, John Turturro, Michael Cera, Brad Garrett, Holland Taylor, Sean Astin, Tyson Ritter, Caren Pistorius, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Rita Wilson, Cassi Thomson, Alanna Ubach, Chris Mulkey and Barbara Sukowa