Gloria Bell (Sebastián Lelio, 2018) wr. Sebastián Lelio, Alice Johnson Boher; Julianne Moore, John Turturro
A woman in her 50s seeks love at LA dance clubs.
This is about a relationship between two people + their associated families. But as the title insists, it's centrally about Julianne Moore's character. In the reverse/shot two-up scenes, she gets most of the camera time. I was disappointed at this at first, as I like John Turturro's work and would have liked to have a deeper understanding of his character. But we get that only from Gloria's point of view, because the film is about her, and about everyone else only in relation to her.
Her dancing: that's how the film starts and ends. It's the expression of her free spirit - her self-actualization, in Maslow's term. It's not often you see a film that's so specifically about someone's coming to that ideal state, and I think that is the great success of this one.
It's shot by a woman, I'm delighted to say: Natasha Braier, and very nicely edited by Soledad Salfate, who also edited the original, Chilean/Spanish version of the story, Gloria (Lelio, 2013), which this one follows very closely.
Sheila O'Malley, in rogerebert.com: "In Gloria, A Fantastic Woman, Disobedience, and now Gloria Bell, Lelio shows a refreshing curiosity —an imaginative kind of empathy—about women's experiences. He cares about what it might be like to be in certain situations, what the world might look like if you were a 50-something divorcee going to a nightclub in Santiago, or a trans woman trying to get your dead boyfriend's family to acknowledge you, or falling in love with your childhood friend in a world where that is just not done. Sometimes his touch has been a bit heavy, but here—in the original [Gloria, 2013] and in Gloria Bell—his touch is feather-light. Loose ends aren't tied up. Some situations are not resolved, and not all dots are connected. The best of Gloria Bell is how it's not propelled by a plot, or by any one urgent concern. Gloria Bell is propelled by her."
Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 22 February, 2020 | Now: 22 February, 2020