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Gloria Bell (2019)

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Has anyone else seen this? 
I went to Alamo Drafthouse tonight to pick up DVD and it was the only thing playing on the 5:00 p.m. window I had before evening class, so I went in knowing nothing about the movie and I thought it was pretty great. Was one of those rare movies where I was half way in and engaged but still had no idea what the movie was "about" and was five minutes from the end and had no idea how it would end. 

I saw Disobedience last year and it didn't make an impression. Always been a Julianne Moore fan, but her work here is really stellar.  I guess I could say that the soundtrack was a bit on the nose, but every time I decided I knew what the movie was doing it shifted in a nevertheless credible direction. 

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Did you see the original Gloria?  I'm hearing this is pretty great, too, but that it's almost a shot-for-shot of Lelio's original, so I've held back from seeing the remake - apart from an acting showcase for Moore, Turturro, et al, I'm left wondering what was the point?

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I have a vague recollection of having watched the Spanish-language one...or at least parts of it. (Maybe as an FYC screener?) I don't recall it making much of an impression, so I guess there was something about the translation that I liked better or found more engaging. 

Perhaps the point (I'm just conjecturing) is a wider audience or a rumination of how the cultural expectations of women alter our perception of aging, sexual freedom, etc. 

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Saw it. Liked it. Can't recall if I've ever seen the original film. The new film felt *familiar* in a few places, but only in the vaguest of ways, and I couldn't remember seeing any specific scenes before.

I wondered sometimes if the song choices were a little on-the-nose, but then, people do tend to listen to songs that express what they're feeling, etc.

It just hit me that Julianne Moore and John Turturro were both in The Big Lebowski over two decades ago.

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FWIW, I loved the original Gloria — enough so that I'm really reluctant to see it done again. (Here's my original review, which was part of a series of reviews I did in 2014 about movies focused on complex, nuanced female leads.)

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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.

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Welcome, Marcianne!  It's nice to see someone from my neighborhood - I live across the mountains in Johnson City, but trek to Asheville a couple of times monthly to see films to review (and would often chat movies and beer with your Mountain Xpress colleague, Scott, at Bruisin' Ales).

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1
16 hours ago, Marcianne Miller said:

Gloria’s been divorced for over a decade, so you can’t help but wonder why she’s still single

Hi Marci.
I think this question begins to get at why I found the film alternately puzzling and enthralling (not sure which way I'll break even now). 
Because we are (okay, I am) so used to films being about plot, I kept expecting this film to be about plot, and it's not. The key way I see that is that I kept expecting the film to tip its hand by showing alternate results to different choices she made. Yet it seems like no matter what she tries--and the film skillfully presents the internal logic of just about every choice she makes -- the results don't see to draw her any closer to a solution to her problems of loneliness and longing for a fuller life...one not just of pleasures and pain but of those things contextualized by higher meaning and purpose. 

At times, too, I found myself resisting the film because Moore is so traditionally beautiful that I thought it was participating in that Hollywood tradition (The Heiress, Washington Square, The Truth About Cats & Dogs, Jane Eyre) of taking beautiful Hollywood stars and telling us the characters they play are crippled by their own insecurities about physical appearance. But Gloria isn't those things. Her inability to connect doesn't come, so far as I can tell, from shyness or uptightness. Her boyfriend is more uptight than she is. It doesn't seem to come from some sort of internal impident, something that is wrong with her that has to be fixed. Instead, my best reading so far is that the film is about the external impediments to a woman's happiness and how they are large enough to make even the most persistent and patient woman buckle under the frustrations of not being able to unilaterally address them. 

That's where I'm at with the film, anyway, but I'm still processing it and am happy to hear others' thoughts.

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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.

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11 hours ago, Marcianne Miller said:

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.

Aw, I hate to hear that about Scott - a delightful fellow, with impressive film knowledge and taste (with talent to communicate both).  I'd love to meet - I'll message you before my next trip over the mountains.

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