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Movie review: Gloria

A delightful portrait of middle-aged life

March 22, 2014 | 10:44 a.m. CST

Determined not to become an old cat lady, Gloria (Paulina Garcia) unabashedly takes to the dance floor every chance she can get. Unafraid to try new things and embrace life, Gloria seems like a twenty-something, not a 12-year divorcee with two grown children. When she meets Rodolfo (Sergio Hernàndez) at her favorite nightclub, they go home together.

Just as Gloria has her issues with family, Rodolfo struggles to be independent from his ex-wife and two daughters. When Gloria starts to feel alienated from him, he pursues her harder. It’s a familiar scenario – a couple fighting to stay in a toxic relationship. Amidst her troubles with men and efforts to spend time with her kids, Gloria is a flawed yet relatable character battling an undeniable sensation of loneliness.

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Chilean director Sebastiàn Lelio, who also co-wrote the film, brings audiences an authentic account of a single woman in her 50s. The leading role could not have been better cast. Garcia won best actress at the Berlin International Film Festival for her performance, and she perfectly embodies the confident, sexually liberated (though occasionally misguided) Gloria. Garcia’s gaze makes the audience question the quiet demeanor of the character; what Gloria will do next is anyone’s guess.

In addition to the stellar acting, the cinematography perfectly captures Gloria’s young-at-heart attitude. Transfixing scenes immortalize the moments you never want to forget. Gloria shows that getting older doesn’t mean losing your sense of adventure.

Vox Rating: V V V V

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