Directed by Sebastián Lelio
Gloria is a 58-year-old divorcée. Her children have all left home but she has no desire to spend her days and nights alone. Determined to defy old age and loneliness, she rushes headlong into a whirl of singles’ parties on the hunt for instant gratification – which only leads to repeated disappointment and enduring emptiness. But when Gloria meets Rodolfo, an ex-naval officer seven years her senior, she begins to imagine the possibility of a permanent relationship.
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★★★½ review by Adam Cook on Letterboxd
Sebastián Lelio’s Gloria is an astute and intimate character study about a divorced middle-aged woman struggling with loneliness and her place in a world where her adult children no longer need her. Yet despite its subject matter the film is rarely depressing, instead it is a story of growth and new found independence for a woman who is seeking a second life in her later years.
Set in Santiago, Gloria is the story of the eponymous heroine, a woman in her late 50s who visits nightclubs in the hope of companionship. There she meets Rodolfo, an introverted ex-naval officer recently divorced. In most films of this kind this meeting would be the springboard for a blossoming romance yet Rodolfo’s baggage proves too problematic to their happiness as Gloria comes second to his family.
Lelio’s award-winning film is a compassionate portrait of a very real character. Gloria is a complicated figure - a woman who refuses to be consumed by the loneliness she feels and who retains a thirst for life and new adventures despite her midlife malaise. Paulina García is nothing short of a revelation as the title character bringing great warmth and fragility to the role. There is never a false or mannered moment in her performance and it is her portrayal that ultimately makes Gloria the success it is.
Although billed as a comedy-drama the former is unlikely to elicit many laughs. There are humorous moments of human drama but Lelio never strives for easy comedy and keeps the film focused on the characters rather than any manufactured scenarios. Following her routine and her spontaneous attempts to break out of the daily rituals, the audience get a deep understanding of her character meaning by the film’s uplifting climax you are wholeheartedly invested in her second coming-of-age.
Despite getting so much right the film still suffers from a languid pacing. García’s performance normally stops the film from ever becoming dull but it does occasionally struggle to hold the attention, particularly during the film’s second half. It is also disappointing that some of the supporting characters (especially Gloria’s children) are crudely defined. It’s a film firmly interested in Gloria and her own growth but greater care and attention with regards to the support could have made this a far richer experience.
Issues aside, Gloria is a beautifully performed and refreshingly honest drama.
★★★★ review by MasterLundegaard on Letterboxd
Dance the years away. Dance inside the pumping lights, the madding crowd, the droves of shakes and twists and senior figures swaying to a tune that rings a impassioned rhythm. The type of rhythm to sing over in a ride down the road, or the type of rhythm to broadcast over the rumbling, vigorous first encounter that cleanses the next-day blues with bright grins and locked eyes. The type of rhythm that beats within your heart, reminding that age is not a tally, only a mere mark. The type of rhythm that thrives for long, and then, one day, just stops. A cadence that silences all the dead noise, and carries your ears, even if only for a minute.
★★★½ review by Rod Sedgwick on Letterboxd
A merry-go-round of loneliness plagues a 58 year old woman in search of companionship amongst the emptiness of singles parties and dance clubs. Her family are not as 'present' as she needs them to be and neither is the new romantic flame she sparks up with Rodolfo, but with Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Lelio's ever compassionate lens and without sentimentality or judgement, we witness a subtle transformation of a woman taking charge of her life. Paulina García is every bit deserving of the praise being thrust upon her as the titular protagonist, but I was also quite impressed with Sergio Hernández and his puppy dog eyes. If I have any complaints, it is with the script lacking that extra bit of oomph to make this something more special and memorable. As it lies, it is still very much a subtly rewarding film that warrants attention.
★★★½ review by Cogerson on Letterboxd
Why I watched this one? I thought it was a remake of Gena Rowland's 1980s thriller......which I think got her nominated for an Oscar. Instead I got a drama about an almost Golden Girl.
What is this one about? Gloria has been divorced for 12 years. Her kids are grown and raising their own families. Life seems to be over for her...but she finds love in a man who seems to have a secret life. Can she find happiness?
My thoughts on this one? Ok this one has a great performance from the actress playing Gloria......but man is this story depressing. The guy she falls in love with seems to be a jerk...and you wonder why she keeps giving him a chance. Final thought. This is a well done movie but not one I will ever watch again.
★★★★ review by eugenen on Letterboxd
Took about 30 seconds of post-film discussion to realize that this movie is a honking Rorscharch test: it's a character study of a lonely middle-aged woman, but what you think of her depends on how you read the merciless, darkly funny film. I'm convinced that Gloria is a fundamentally selfish, unkind person, and that the movie is about the universe repeatedly signaling that she needs to change that before she dies alone, unneeded, and unloved. Could list a litany of supporting evidence, but I'll settle for the second restaurant scene, in which she drops Rodolfo's phone in the soup and proposes a 10-day Cuban vacation -- immediately after he learns that his ex-wife is in the hospital with a serious injury. Anyone who faults Rodolfo for what he does next is a crazy person. Gloria is remarkable for how relatable and familiar it makes its protagonist while laying bare her faults in ways incisive and subtle.
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