Movie Review: Gloria Bell
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Director: Sebastián Lelio
by Jason Koenigsberg
Sebastian Lelio makes his English language feature debut with his follow up to his Academy Award-winning Best Foreign Language Film A Fantastic Woman (2017). He co-wrote and directed a film about a single woman in her fifties looking for love and companionship and meaning in her life entitled Gloria Bell. He also managed to get the immensely talented Julianne Moore to play the lead role and she is glorious indeed as she almost always is. The opening shot is of a ceiling with bright lights as the camera tilts down to reveal we are at a dance club for an older crowd. Eventually, the camera finds Julianne Moore and focuses on her alone drinking a martini. She is lost in a sea of older singles, all trying to find a connection.
Gloria Bell is a tender romance about older people but it also is an even better character study about an older woman looking for purpose in her life. Her children are grown and moving on to have families of their own, her ex-husband is remarried and she is working at a job that she has little passion for. She meets another lost single man in the form of John Turturro. He is recently divorced and they hit it off… to an extent. Divulging more of the plot would hurt the experience of watching Gloria Bell unfold. This is a mature film about people’s fears hindering a relationship or even a potential relationship with a person who seems promising. It captures the awkwardness of dating slowly turning into a relationship that involves meeting family members, ex-husbands, and wives.
Gloria Bell is a rare film that is designed for an older demographic. Not that younger people could not relate to the story and their characters. The themes are universal and most likely anyone over the age of eighteen would appreciate Gloria Bell on any level from their own experiences with love and relationships. Also, it has a great nostalgic soundtrack with a lot of catchy 80’s pop songs that the viewer will walk out humming. Once again you do not have to be middle-aged to appreciate great 80’s music. The final shot is a beauty and is completely owned by Julianne Moore. She is and has been one of the most talented actresses for the past twenty plus years and she gives one of her strongest performances here that is well worth the price of admission.