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Review by Rich Cline |
dir-scr Sebastian Lelio
prd Juan de Dios Larrain, Pablo Larrain, Sebastian Lelio
with Julianne Moore, John Turturro, Holland Taylor, Michael Cera, Caren Pistorius, Brad Garrett, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Rita Wilson, Chris Mulkey, Sean Astin, Jesse Erwin, Barbara Sukowa, Alanna Ubach
release US 8.Mar.19,
TORONTO FILM FEST
Chilean filmmaker Sebastian Lelio remakes his own 2013 gem Gloria with added Hollywood star power. This offers Julianne Moore yet another beautifully layered character to play, and of course her performance is gorgeous. This is a rare exploration of middle age, full of nuance and complex emotions. But it's also not a Hollywood movie, so the amped-up cast kind knocks the loose narrative out of balance for audiences who will understandably expect something else. In
Los Angeles, Gloria (Moore) is a divorcee who loves to dance to classic 1980s tracks. She has two grown children with their own issues: Peter (Cera) is the single dad of an infant after his wife left him, while Anne (Pistorius) is getting serious with her boyfriend (Erwin), a Swedish big-wave surfer. When Gloria meets Arnold (Turturro), she begins to hope that she might have found love again. But he seems a little too bound to his ex-wife and adult daughters. Gloria would love to have a significant other, but perhaps she's fine on her own.
There isn't much of a plot here, as the story is actually about Gloria's internal journey. So the film consists of a series of interconnected moments, some more momentous than others, as she works on herself in various forms of therapy, lets off steam in the nightclub, tries to help her kids, turns to her mother (Taylor) and friends (including Wilson and Mulkey) for support, and tries to expel an invading hairless cat from her apartment. Nothing extraordinary happens, as the script gently examines her attitudes to the various relationships in her life.
Moore is particularly gifted at playing this kind of character, holding the movie's subtle narrative within her eyes while investing her full physicality into the role. The only problem is that she's far too glamorous to be an every-woman (unlike the original film's Paulina Garcia), but she adeptly captures a culture in which grown-ups refuse to let themselves become old. Her chemistry with everyone around her is warmly understated, like the performances of her costars, each of whom leaves his or her character in the vivid subtext rather than scene-stealing antics.
In other words, the film is almost remarkably low-key at a time when movies tend to be straining to be in-your face. Lelio has an ability to cut through surfaces in his work, and this film simply ignores the surface altogether. This makes it worth a look, but only for audiences willing to look inside themselves as they take an internal journey along with this ordinary woman. These viewers will find plenty to admire in this finely crafted film. And perhaps a less starry cast might have given the film an even stronger kick.
R E A D E R R E V I E W SStill waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.
© 2019 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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