By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
It’s not likely anyone will complain if Oscar winning director Sebastian Lelio (“A Fantastic Woman”)
took some creative license with his new movie, “Gloria Bell.”
Afterall, this is an updated version of the 2013 Chilean movie “Gloria” that he wrote and directed. It was also Chile’s Oscar submission for best foreign language film.
Although I didn’t see that film, if it’s anything like the engaging dramedy “Gloria Bell,” then I’m sure I’d enjoy it too.
What makes “Gloria Bell” such a delight is Julianne Moore.
She’s fantastic playing a fifty-something divorcee who works for an insurance company in Los Angeles. It’s a mundane office job for sure, but it pays the bills and allows her a modest and comfortable lifestyle.
The biggest upside to it all is that her kids Peter (Michael Cera, TV’s “Arrested Development”) and Anne (Caren Pistorius, “Mortal Engines”) are grown and doing well on their own. Plus, Gloria is free to do what she wants now without her ex-husband Dustin (Brad Garrett, TV’s “Single Parents”) around. They’ve been divorced for 10 years.
What Gloria loves doing most after a hard day’s work is getting her groove on at her favorite dance club. Gloria isn’t some old prune. She’s attractive, confident and can pull any guy she wants. Yet, she’s perfectly fine all by herself out on the floor shaking it down to the seductive sounds of Earth Wind & Fire and Gloria Gaynor along with other pulsating, pop 1970s and 1980s songs.
Although Gloria isn’t looking for love or even a hookup for that matter, she kind of finds both one night while partying the night away.
While dancing, she locks eyes with a tall guy across the room. There’s an immediate connection between them. His name is Arnold (John Turturro, “Transformers: The Last Knight”).
Before long they’re chatting, sharing laughs and drinks.
Arnold is an ex-Marine who has been divorced one year. He runs a paintball company. Gloria finds Arnold intriguing, but there’s something just a little shady about him too. So, she proceeds with caution. She discovers—much to her dismay--that Arnold, although divorced, still has ties to his wife and two needy daughters. It’s a growing problem that keeps interfering in their budding relationship which now includes some quality time between the sheets.
When Gloria invites Arnold to her son’s birthday party, her ex-husband (Garrett) and the rest of her family is there too. Arnold soon feels left out and manages to sneak out and doesn’t contact her for days.
Gloria is embarrassed and hurt by the turn of events. Out for a bit of revenge, she confronts Arnold at his house while armed with one of his very own paintball guns. The sneak attack on him might have been petty, but it sure felt good to her.
“Gloria Bell” is as much about women embracing love and lust at any age, as well as overcoming disappointment, letting go and discovering happiness within.
While that may all sound clichéd and perhaps even half-baked, watching Moore’s heartfelt performance here is anything but.
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Watch This Trailer For "GLORIA BELL"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), The Alliance Of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.