Film Review by: T. Mathenia
GLORIA directed by Sebastián Lelio, is a delightful film about an older woman proactively on the hunt for love amidst the hum-drum regularity of her daily life. 12 year divorcee, Gloria (Paulina Garcia) frequently attends social dance clubs and the like in an attempt to meet a life partner. On the outside she seems to be taking everything in stride and the desperation to find a mate is very subtle. It’s so subtle that to the naked eye it looks like she is totally content with her life as is.
One night she meets Rodolfo (Sergio Hernández) and we then get to see the intense fire that still burns within middle-aged Gloria. She and Rodolfo begin a grown up but still-not-quite-perfect (understatement) love affair that paints a very realistic picture of what love between two “of-age” adults could actually look like. Divorced Rodolfo still caters to his grown up children and ex-wife while Gloria’s priorities lie with letting her children lead their own lives and she hers. Needless to say the two ideologies on familial responsibilities clash and the passionate romance suffers.
And boy is it passionate. The thing that is striking about this film outside of the warmth with which it was shot is the fact that the actors are very ordinary looking. Usually in films about mature love the actors portraying “ordinary” are still above average looking for their age. I found myself connecting with these characters as they’re bodies are less than perfect. Still they did not shy away from the camera. We get to see bellies and wrinkles but they clearly don’t matter. After the initial shock wears off from the Hollywood-body-perfection-only mindset the wrinkles and flab just dissolve and you’re left with a rich story of human-to-human interaction. All credit due here to Garcia for making the hard sell seem effortless and beautiful.
This is Gloria’s viewpoint on her life and she is present in every scene. The director captured well how a mother usually plays the background to everyone’s foreground. The question of “where do I fit” subtly and smartly pings you in the background of your mind but never does the lead character come out and voice this question. In a world that values youth you just kind of know that this story about a woman trying to find her place in life and break free from the very things that while loved (family, husband, career, …etc) causes her to lose her identity as a singular hot-blooded entity.
Garcia shines as GLORIA who finds that even in her golden years she can break free and has a fire within that still burns brightly as ever.
Language : Spanish with English Subtitles
|R rating, 110 minutes|
|Director: Sebastián Lelio|
|Cast: Paulina García, Sergio Hernández, Marcial Tagle, Diego Fontecilla, Fabiola Zamora, Antonia Santa María|
|Screenwriters: Sebastián Lelio, Gonzalo Maza|
|Producers: Juan De Dios Larraín, Pablo Larraín, Sebastián Lelio, Gonzalo Maza|
|Director of photography: Benjamín Echazarreta|
|Production designer: Marcela Urivi|
|Costume designer: Eduardo Castro|
|Editor: Soledad Salfate, Sebastián Lelio|
|Production companies: Fabula|