Gloria, dir. Sebastián Lelio (2013)

220px-Gloria_posteris about a woman of a certain age, divorced, with two grown children not terribly attentive to her.  Gloria has a job, not ever described or demonstrated, something to do in an office where she is not an underling or a boss– middle management?

Because she is eager to connect, and not resigned to her fate as a lonely divorcee, she goes dancing regularly where crowds of people her age move around her, Gloria in the middle, drink in hand, cigarette ready to be lit.

If Gloria were 30 years younger, we’d be worried that she was headed to a life of alcoholism and debauchery, but because she is a woman of a certain age, an age close to my own, we root for her to have fun, to get laid, to find a worthy companion.

A man becomes infatuated with her, and for a short time, it seems as if a love match has occurred.  The man is not bad looking, he tells her how crazy he is about her, attractive traits.  But just as we have witnessed her persistence after being rejected or ignored by her children and other men several times before she finds Rodolfo, so we are set up for further disappointment.

Gloria is persistent.  She is not stupid.  She is fair minded.  Rodolfo, prey to his family’s clinginess and demands, cannot free himself to be the proper partner that Glroia deserves and wants.  The camera seems always to be in extreme close up of the head of the actress, and  she is the center of the story, so it is  fitting, but sometimes I wanted  to see others who were speaking, and felt trapped. Paulina Garcia, the lead, is in every frame, and does an excellent job of conveying her indomitable spirit, even when the movie feels repetitive and lacking in ideas.  The song, “Gloria,” sung by Laura Branigan, informs and finishes the movie, a pop anthem of liberation and optimism.


About Patricia Markert

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