Gloria Bell (2018)

Gloria Bell
Director: Sebastián Lelio
Writer: Alice Johnson Boher, Sebastián Lelio, Gonzalo Maza
Remake of: Gloria
Cast: Julianne Moore, John Turturro, Caren Pistorius, Michael Cera, Brad Garrett, Holland Taylor, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Rita Wilson, Chris Mulkey, Cassi Thomson, Sean Astin, Barbara Sukowa
Seen on: 27.8.2019

Content Note: fatmisia

Gloria (Julianne Moore) has a full life. With a job and two grown children, divorced and free, she likes to spend her nights in the local bars, dancing and meeting people her age. One night she meets Arnold (John Turturro). He is also divorced, but not as long as Gloria, and the two of them hit it off. But when they start dating, things don’t go quite as smoothly as that first night.

Apart from it handling fatness very questionably, I very much enjoyed Gloria Bell that stands out from most films because it tells a story that might as well happen to your neighbor, and that centers a middle-aged woman.

The film poster showing Gloria (Julianne Moore) drenched in purple light, dancing.

Historically, usual women’s lives haven’t been featured a lot in narratives – be it book or films. They just aren’t deemed particularly interesting. If we do get stories about people that aren’t achieving greatness or doing superhuman things, they’re usually men. Add to that that we very rarely get films albout middle-aged women. In film, women kind of stop existing when they’re 30 and then they get to come back as grandmothers. In the time between, the maximum they usually get is being the mothers and wives to the people the story is actually about.

So, it was really great that we get a film that combines both. Gloria is just a woman, no special skills or anything. At least, no more special than the people that surround us every day (and who are very special indeed, don’t get me wrong). And I loved that even though the film is about her finding love, she is good without romantic love as well. She is not unhappy, there is no emptiness in her life that needs filling.

Gloria (Julianne Moore) sitting at a bar with a drink.

Julianne Moore is excellent, Turturro isn’t bad either, and the script very skillfully handles the information about Arnold, letting is discover him step by step along with Gloria (I didn’t realize that the film was a remake, the original als by Lelio, but in Spanish. Having not ssen it, I don’t know how much they changed in the script from the original, but I do hope that part remained the same).

The only thing that really bothered me was the fatmisia in the film. Arnold used to be fat, but after a gastric bypass, he lost a lot of weight – and the film really tries to make it seem like being fat is some kind of moral failing. Plus, the most unlikeable characters in the film are also fat and call Gloria a “skinny bitch”. And my fat self is definitely not here for that kind of shit.

Fortunately, that’s not a huge part of the film, so one can look past it and enjoy the rest (but it would have been better if it hadn’t been there at all, of course).

Gloria (Julianne Moore) next to a hotel pool. looking like she spent the night partying.

Summarizing: pretty good.

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