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A free-spirited woman in her 50s (Julianne Moore) seeks out love in LA dance clubs.

Review by Louise Keller:
Thereís a wonderful sense of exuberance about Gloria Bell. We feel it from the very first moment we see Julianne Mooreís Gloria standing at the bar of a dance club, dry martini in hand, hips swaying to the musical rhythms. The English language remake of Chilean writer director Sebastian Lelioís 2013 film hit Gloria loses nothing in translation.

Moving the action from Santiago to Los Angeles, Lelioís film invites us into the life of a bespectacled, middle-aged divorcee, who makes the most of every minute as she looks for meaning in her life. Itís a superb characterization and a magnificent performance by Moore, who sheds her vanity to embrace a vivacious woman who refuses to become jaded by lifeís knocks. We laugh, we cry, we care. Itís a wonderful, joyous experience!

We quickly get a sense of Gloria's life. She sings on her way to work; tolerates the rants of her neighbor, moans about the neighbour's hairless Sphynx cat that has adopted her, is involved in her two grown up children's lives and kicks her heels up on the dance floor at night.

Gloria's relationship with Arnold (John Turturro, beautifully nuanced) begins after their eyes meet across the crowded dance floor. The first sex scene is hardly romanticized, as bare flesh is exposed and Gloria rips off the Velcro of Arnold's corset. But he reads her poetry and woos her. Just as we feel the relationship is heading somewhere, Arnold displays another side of himself. Watch for the family birthday gathering and a trip to Vegas, where the initial gloss of Caesar's Palace is sullied.

The narrative glides along smoothly and naturally before it begins the rollercoaster ride as it the crescendo lifts to the finish lin. Lelio's casting of Michael Cera, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Rita Wilson and Brad Garrett is note perfect.

I felt like applauding as the film soars to its exuberant ending.

The fact that Gloria sings along to soundtrack covers makes its own statement about the lyrics. 'No More Lonely Nights', 'Love is in the Air', 'I'm All out of Love' and 'Alone Again (Naturally)' echo the essence of the sentiment being played out. Pay particular attention for the placement of 'Total Eclipse of the Heart'. It provides a musical joke, an emotional statement and a touch of irony. By the time Laura Branigan's 'Gloria' pounds out at the film's end, our feet are tapping and hearts smiling.

I was interested to re-read my review of the original film. There is little of substances that is different. Perhaps the main point of difference is the mood that Paulina Garcia (who made the role her own in the 2013 film). Moore's presence is far more glamorous.

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GLORIA BELL (2019) (MA15+)
(US, 2019)

CAST: Sean Astin, Julianne Moore, Alanna Ubach, Rita Wilson, Michael Cera, Jeanne Tripplehorn, John Turturro, Holland Taylor, Brad Garrett

PRODUCER: Juan de Dios Larrain, Pablo Larrain, Sebastian Lelio

DIRECTOR: Sebastian Lelio

SCRIPT: Alice Johnson Boher, Sebastian Lelio


EDITOR: Soledad Salfate

MUSIC: Matthew Hervert

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Art direction: Shannon Walsh

RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes



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