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Marcianne Miller

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  1. No, there's no plot. There's no logic whatsoever to why Gloria has been alone for so long. And it has little if anything to say about the realities of late-life dating. The film to me, is merely a character study about a woman who keeps getting up and dusting herself off in the face of overwhelming loneliness. There's nothing really wrong with her, nor with men her age. She doesn't change her behavior, or get any insight. She just revives herself and keeps on going. It's a fairy tale.
  2. Let's meet! Alas, Scott was shabbily let go recently from Xpress and a new crew is in charge. Contact me off line for info. Best, mm
  3. My short review of Gloria Bell for Mountain Xpress, Asheville... Gloria Bell charms us with a rare movie heroine--a gutsy, infuriating, totally human woman who happens to be both single—and in her late 50s. Played by Julianne Moore (in a brilliant, mesmerizing performance), Gloria is stunning, of course, even with her silly over-sized eye glasses. But she’s not a cute young thing, she’s a mature beauty, who must pluck hairs on her chin and style her hair to draw attention away from her wrinkles. Gloria’s been divorced for over a decade, so you can’t help but wonder why she’s still single. Perhaps because she doesn’t join a church or get involved in politics where she might meet suitable men. She doesn’t even have a hobby. Instead, dance-crazy, Gloria tries to find love in a neon lit adult dance club. One night, she clicks with newly divorced Arnold (a surprisingly appealing John Turturro). They dive into a passionate affair, with plenty of frontal nudity of the lovely Ms. Moore. And then Gloria has to deal with that horrible bugaboo of all romances--reality. Gloria Bell is an almost identical remake of director Sebastian Lelio’s 2013 film, Gloria, set in his homeland, Chile, and starring Paulina Garcia. He’s a director who loves women characters (2018 Best Foreign Language Oscar for A Fantastic Woman). He feels no need to rush their stories—this doesn’t mean his films are boring, exactly, just subtle and slow. For me, Gloria Bell unfurled like a long pale chiffon scarf captured by a breeze—it snagged often on the relentless thorns of friends’ constant reminders to Gloria that life is short, balled up in the lives of her two independent grown children (Michael Cera and, Caren Pistorius), then ripped to shreds on the flimsy new branch with Arnold. But Gloria’s spirit is powerful. Like all goddesses, she can revive herself, especially if she has a strong potion like Laura Branigan’s rousing dance song. Gloria Bell will make you sad, and glad, and really mad, which is why it’s good to remember that sometimes the only solution to a broken heart is a well-aimed act of revenge.
  4. Keen to support women filmmakers, I was eager to review High Life. It’s the 14th feature film, the first in English, from 73-year-old darling-auteur of French cinema, Claire Denis (Let the Sunshine In). The early reviews were raves. Happy me. Then I found its rating: Rated R for disturbing sexual and violent content including sexual assault, graphic nudity, and language. Uh oh… A baby squeals in a playpen set up in a space ship that has seen better days. Making repairs outside the ship, her space-suited father coos to her. Lovely, eh? Haunting, unforgettable. Only after suffering through the entire film, do you realize these endearing early images anesthetized you to the horrid images that follow. Was such numbness, God forbid, the purpose of the film? The premise of High Life is classic sci-fi: The Government offered a deal to death row inmates: they won’t be executed if they go into space as medical guinea pigs and then head into a black hole to see what happens. Surely a mission with a low potential for success. The positives: Cinematography, sound and music are top-notch. All actors, including the international supporting cast, are terrific. Monte, played by Robert Pattison (the five Twilight films), is outstanding as the solitary prisoner who finds hope in raising his daughter Willow (14-month old Scarlett Lindsey and teenager Jessie Ross). Unfortunately, you do wish you could forget the brilliant performance of Juliette Binoche (my favorite actress, Oscar for The English Patient), who is too-convincing as Dr. Dibs, the insidious reproduction-obsessed crew doctor. Director/co-writer Denis claims High Life is about what it means to be human. (Life in really High places, get it?) The loving father/daughter thread exquisitely portrays humanity at its best. But the surrounding story is humanity wallowing in its worst. Unending isolation means life is nothing more than maintaining existence. It’s 24 hours a day of being a hopeless victim, insanely seeking relief in drug addiction, endless exploration of bodily fluids, masturbation, rape, murder, and suicide. Without even one ounce of humor, High Life is 110 minutes of emotional pummeling. You’ve been warned. Marcianne Miller has reviewed films in Los Angeles and Asheville. She is a member of SEFCA and NCFCA.
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