Julianne Moore shines in quirky midlife character study Gloria Bell: EW review
Gloria Bell (2018 Movie)
Director Sebastián Lelio made history at the 2018 Academy Awards when he brought Chile its first ever Best Foreign Language Film prize. Though the movie he won it for, A Fantastic Woman, almost seems like it could be the title of his entire oeuvre: Again and again, he bathes his female subjects — from the dancing divorcée in 2013’s Gloria to Fantastic’s trans nightclub singer to the Orthodox lesbian lovers in last year’s Disobedience — in a kind of tender, full-fledged humanity that other auteurs, let alone mainstream Hollywood, rarely touches.
The title character in his joyful English-language remake of Gloria seems ordinary by almost any measure (the inconvenient truth of Julianne Moore’s movie-star cheekbones aside): A fiftysomething Los Angeles insurance agent, she drifts mostly unseen between her job and her apartment and her half-oblivious children (Michael Cera and Caren Pistorius) — not so much mistreated as benignly erased by late middle age.
But she still lives for the little things, like taking herself out to the dark discos where other like-minded anonymous boomers let themselves go on the dance floor. That’s where she meets Arnold (John Turturro), recently single and almost instantly smitten — though not perhaps as available, or as worthy, as he seems.
Through it all, Gloria carries on: singing wildly along to her car radio, chatting amicably through a bikini wax, getting stoned alone on the living-room floor. And Moore—vulnerable but undauntable—lives every moment in her skin, fantastic to the last glorious frame. A–