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REVIEW — “Gloria Bell”

A bit of a rare occurrence, but Gloria Bell is an American remake of the 2013 Chilean film Gloria, both of which are directed by Sebastian Lelio. Having not seen the original film, I can’t compare the two – but I can say that I’ll watch just about anything with Julianne Moore in it. Gloria Bell is a wonderful ode to Moore as a performer, and a glorious embrace of love, aging, and being care-free. The film follows long-time divorcée Gloria (Moore) as she falls for the newly divorced Arnold (John Turturro) and tries to navigate the complications of life around her.

One might assume that a film about a middle aged woman trying to find love and purpose would be a drag to get through, but I believe Gloria Bell deliberately flips that notion on its head. While there are definitely moments that are dramatic and serious, the film is fundamentally light and full of heart. The best moments in the film are the small ones – sequences between Gloria and Arnold bonding over dates or Moore dancing at a night club. This easily could have been a drama you’ve seen countless times before, but the approach of tone makes all the difference.

The entire supporting cast here is great – from Turturro as her love interest to Michael Cera and Caren Pistorius who plays Gloria’s kids to Brad Garrett playing her ex-husband. They all support the film tremendously. But from start to finish, Gloria Bell is Julianne Moore’s show. She’s relatively fantastic in just about every film she stars in, but I think this is alongside Still Alice as her best work. Her performance feels so personal and emotional, without ever having some giant sequence where she has to display it all for the audience. She holds it all on her face and shows it through her actions, the character never has to explain to the audience what she’s feeling. And that’s greatly apart of the appeal.

My only issue with the film is that it can feel a bit repetitive at points, which damages the pacing a little bit. But even so, the film still manages to be a heartfelt and sincere portrait of aging and self-love. I love films where you can feel the care behind the project in each scene, and Gloria Bell definitely feels like it was made with 100% love.


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