Direction: Sebastian Lelio
Julianne Moore is Gloria Bell, an independent divorcée and mother of two who tries to fill a gap in her life with a caring man who could meet her expectations and tastes. As a dance lover, she refuses social isolation and keeps looking for the perfect match in clubs around L.A. at the sound of funk, pop, disco, and R&B hits from the 70s and 80s.
The apparently bashful Arnold (a convincing John Turturro) becomes a candidate of choice when things work out well between them after the first encounter. Recently divorced, he is trying to change his life, but admits having two adult daughters who completely rely on him financial-wise. However, this man reveals to be more complicated and pathetic than he demonstrated in the first instance. On one hand, he needs all the attention he can get, and on the other, he provides everything his daughters and ex-wife demand from him, even stressing and complaining about it all the time.
After an unexplained disappearance when at Gloria’s son’s birthday party, they break up, but days later she gives way to his charm and insistent phone calls, giving him one last chance to redeem himself. A trip to Vegas reaches a climax that, unfortunately, we had already seen before.
Reimagining his own 2013 film Gloria, whose story was set in Santiago and features Paulina Garcia in the leading role, Chilean director Sebastian Lelio (A Fantastic Woman) copies himself in style, designing a similar story to fit the American soil. In fact, the whole film is unsurprising and drags tediously into obvious conclusions. I mean, who needs an American Gloria Bell when we had the wonderful Chilean Gloria? And I say this with all the respect Ms. Moore’s work deserves.
The American adaptation lacks the real free spirit, magic narrative pulse, and radiance of the original, taking this problematic romance to a minor key and making us pay the price. Regardless of the great performances from Moore and Turturro, I would call Gloria with a Spanish accent.