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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Gloria review: can you handle the truth?

Gloria green light

A smart, incisive portrait of a woman who lives life on her own terms and doesn’t let herself get pushed around.
I’m “biast” (pro): a movie about an older woman? hooray

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Gloria is smart, funny, and stylish. She’s got lots of interesting friends and an active social life on the Santiago singles scene. She’s fifty-eight years old, and romance and sex are what is on her mind. Can you handle that truth? Chilean TV actress Paulina García is a revelation in this festival favorite (and Chile’s official submission for the Foreign Language Oscar) as a woman who lives life on her own terms and doesn’t let herself get pushed around… especially not by her new beau, Rodolfo (Sergio Hernández), who can’t seem to decide whether he’s actually divorced or not. It shouldn’t be that a woman like Gloria and a bittersweet dramedy about her life are so exceptional onscreen, but while we don’t even think twice about a 50something dude as a romantic lead, we barely get the chance to consider their female peers in the same cinematic realm. So by mere dint of his chosen subject, writer (with Gonzalo Maza) and director Sebastián Lelio has given us something fresh and unexpected. (For pure movie-movie fun, it also features another of the great film cats of the moment.) And yet there’s no hint whatsoever of gender politics in this delightful film: this is simply a glorious — heh — character portrait of a vibrant person whom it’s a joy to spend time with.

viewed during the 57th BFI London Film Festival


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Gloria (2013)
US/Can release: Jan 24 2014
UK/Ire release: Nov 1 2013

Flick Filosopher Real Rating: rated WCA (contains a Woman of a Certain Age)
MPAA: rated R for sexual content, some graphic nudity, drug use and language
BBFC: rated 15 (contains strong sex and soft drug use)

viewed in 2D
viewed at a public multiplex screening

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

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  • RogerBW

    Definitely looking forward to this. I sometimes feel that the really effective message films are the ones that don’t scream out their message, they’re the ones that just say “yeah, I’m a person too, I also have a story to tell”.

  • David

    I really liked Happy-go-lucky. Is this in a similar vein?

  • Sort of.

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