GLORIA BELL: 4 STARS. “an astounding performance from Moore.”
“Gloria Bell,” a new film starring Julianne Moore, tells a story about one woman navigating between loneliness and love.
In the remake of his 2013 film “Gloria” Chilean director Sebastián Lelio casts Moore as the title character, a fifty-something divorcee looking for love. An office worker by day, she haunts the discos of suburban Los Angeles in the evening. One night she meets Arnold (John Turturro), a recently divorced man still tethered to his former wife by his ever-present cell phone. They hit it off; he serenades her with quirky, romantic poetry, teaches her how to play paintball and makes her laugh. He meets her family, including the ex-husband (Brad Garrett) and son (Michael Cera) and seems to be falling hard for Gloria. Except for that damn cell phone. Every time it rings it splits his attention between his dramatic former family and Gloria. The prospects for long-term love become more distant every time his phone rings.
“Gloria Bell” is a shot-for-shot remake of Lelio’s 2013 film. It’s a movie that doesn’t rely on conventional narrative but rather focuses on the characters to tell the tale. To that end Moore works wonders. In each episodic snippet Moore illuminates Gloria, giving us everything we need to know in the subtlest of ways. A turn of the head, a too-loud laugh or the way she sings along to the radio. Each of these flourishes breathes life into a character fighting against becoming invisible in a world that values youth.
It’s an astounding performance especially in its understated moments. When Gloria gearshifts from tears to laughter as the weight of a bad relationship lifts or finally dances to her own beat on the dance floor, Moore is vulnerable and jubilant, awkward and comfortable, and always relatable.