GLORIA BELL

"Ultimately Uninspiring"

NoneLightModerateHeavy
Language
Violence
Sex
Nudity

Summary:

GLORIA BELL tells the story of a 50-year-old divorced woman who spends her nights dancing anonymously in Los Angeles discos and takes a chance on a romance that ultimately proves futile. GLORIA BELL has some excellent performances and good direction, but it’s too muted and emotionally disconnected and features a strong Romantic, lawless worldview with lots of foul language, lewd content and a lead character who ends up learning nothing.

Review:

GLORIA BELL tells the story of a 50-year-old divorced woman who spends her nights dancing anonymously in Los Angeles discos and takes a chance on a romance that ultimately proves futile. GLORIA BELL has some excellent performances and good direction, but it’s too muted and emotionally disconnected and features a strong Romantic, lawless worldview with lots of foul language, lewd content and a lead character who ends up learning nothing.

Gloria (Julianne Moore) is meant to be an Everywoman representing ladies who have gone through divorce and are struggling to find their place in the world in middle age. She works in an insurance office by day, singing along to old pop songs on the radio while driving and spending most nights dancing at dance clubs across Los Angeles hoping to meet a man.

Early, she’s seen having an awkward one-night stand, but one night a seemingly sweet and lonely man named Arnold (John Turturro) approaches her, and they find they have a genuine connection. Rather than just having a one-night stand, they start to date seriously. Arnold reveals he owns an adventure park for adults that includes a shooting range and a paintball field, and Gloria learns how to do both.

However, Arnold keeps a strangely emotionally close relationship with his adult daughters that starts to wear on Gloria. Then, when at a party celebrating her first grandchild’s birth, Gloria seems to pay more attention to her remarried ex-husband (Brad Garrett) than Arnold, cracks start to show in her relationship with Arnold.

GLORIA BELL is a very intimate slice-of-life film whose success rests squarely on the shoulders of star Julianne Moore as the titular character. Moore lives up to the challenge, delivering another in a seemingly unending stream of Oscar-worthy performances by covering seemingly the entire spectrum of emotions effortlessly. Even though Gloria’s life is often morally reckless, Moore still conveys enough charm to be entertaining throughout.

Turturro delivers one of the best performances of his lengthy career, and Director Sebastian Lelio finds subtle yet colorful ways to show Gloria’s emotional journey throughout. Particularly fun are her adventures on Arthur’s games compound, and her ultimate resolution of their relationship is both unexpected and hilarious.

Ultimately, though, Gloria is a woman who doesn’t seem to have any spiritual life to ground her or a relationship with God. The final moments could be seen as a sly, sad commentary on her lifestyle, as Gloria is back in the same disco where she started, dancing to the classic 1980s pop song “Gloria,” about a woman who’s unable to make a true connection with any man.

GLORIA BELL will attract moviegoers who like quieter films driven by great acting and characters. However, for most moviegoers it’s too muted and emotionally disconnected to register strongly. Also, the ending is uninspiring because Gloria doesn’t seem to learn anything. Finally, her godless ways, sex scenes, use of recreational marijuana, and occasional foul mouth will turn off media-wise, discerning viewers.

Content:

(RoRoRo, FRFR, LLL, V, SSS, NN, A, DD, MM):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Very strong Romantic, antinomian, lawless, godless worldview where an emotional middle-aged woman takes a chance with real romance but ends up learning nothing

Foul Language:
At least 32 obscenities (including many “f” words), nine profanities, and some lewd language

Violence:
Woman takes a paint gun and shoots at a former boyfriend’s house before shooting him (the scene is played comically but it’s revenge for his disappearing on her on a vacation)

Sex:
Very strong sexual content overall contains a graphic scene of depicted fornication, two other depicted sex scenes, and a shadowed sex scene

Nudity:
Upper female nudity in three sex scenes

Alcohol Use:
Social drinking in bars in multiple scenes

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
Tobacco smoking, and woman rolls and smokes a marijuana cigarette in two scenes; and,

Miscellaneous Immorality:
Lead female character can be a nice person at times, but is sadly godless and adrift through much of the movie, and woman winds up at the end only slightly less shallow and empty than at the beginning, having thrown herself into an affair but learned nothing.

In Brief:

GLORIA BELL tells the story of a 50-year-old divorced woman who spends her nights dancing anonymously in Los Angeles discos. One night a seemingly sweet and lonely man named Arnold approaches Gloria, and they find they have a genuine connection. Rather than just having a one-night stand, they start to date seriously. Arnold owns an adventure park for adults that includes a shooting range and a paintball field, and Gloria learns how to do both. However, cracks eventually start to show in her relationship with Arnold.

GLORIA BELL is a very intimate slice-of-life film whose success rests squarely on the shoulders of star Julianne Moore as the title character. Moore lives up to the challenge. She’s supported by a fine performance from John Turturro as Arnold. GLORIA BELL will attract moviegoers who like quieter movies driven by great acting and characters. However, for most moviegoers, it’s too muted and emotionally disconnected to register strongly. Finally, the title character’s godless ways, sex scenes, use of recreational marijuana, and occasional foul mouth in GLORIA BEELL will turn off media-wise, discerning viewers.

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