Gloria – It’s all a bit desperate

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MOVIE REVIEW

Gloria
Fabula, Chile
105 Min
2.35:1
UK Release: 1st November 2013

DIR Sebastián Lelio
EXEC Andrea Carrasco Stuven, Juan Ignacio Correa, Mariane Hartard, Rocio Jadue
PROD Juan de Dios Larraín, Pablo Larraín, Luis Collar
SCR Sebastián Lelio, Gonzalo Maza
DP Benjamín Echazarreta
CAST Paulina Garcia, Sergio Hernández, Coca Guazzini, Antonia Santa María

Gloria opens with a late-middle aged, desperate and timid woman dancing in a club and ends this way. The events have gone full circle, but within that circle there isn’t really much to consider, other than the fact that Gloria may have relieved some anxiety and sexual frustration. The dope, the alcohol, the lust, the inability to walk in high heels, Gloria has discovered these tropes throughout the course of the film as if for the first time. It’s a strong critical standpoint, but this movie is rather futile. Of course, a good film does come full circle, but it shouldn’t be so eminently parallel as it is with Gloria. Others may view this narrative as a blessing of realism. Perhaps, for all women out there under a similar depressive state, the film gives you a boost to realize that you aren’t at all as depraved as Gloria?

I admit my viewpoint on this film still remains somewhat sunken in murky waters. Regardless of its flaws, the film is actually refreshing in a pragmatist kind of way. Sebastian Lelio is exploring an alternative lead role and therefore laying bare the realities of time – something mainstream cinema would never dare. Lelio is also accepting the significant sexual desires of its ageing characters; Pauline Garcia, as Gloria, gives the audience a decent flash or two. Further afield, Garcia’s facial expressions are full of complicity, I would gaze into the character to regain my hold on the film. Occasionally, her eyes would leap out in a sinister and seductive fashion through those boundless nannie glasses of hers.

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However, the story isn’t very exciting at all and is told in a rather episodic style. Lelio does add a lightly comical touch to his material though, which acts as a crowd pleasure for most part. In particular, the cat is rather entrancing with its bare coat, as it stealthily intrudes into Gloria’s flat. In fact, the cat symbolizes the only ‘humanistic’ aspect Gloria overcomes: at the end of the film she shows love towards it in contrast to before.

Gloria’s lifestyle is like that of a coming of age teenager. She is interesting to watch and Benjamin Echazarreta’s camerawork is fitting to her regime. He uses occasional hand held shots when Gloria is out on the town and 360 degree encircling shots when she is at a point of near lunacy. Gloria’s character doesn’t develop and she becomes entrapped in her gloomy circle of existence.

Rodolfo (Sergio Hernandez), Gloria’s playmate and futile attempt at a relationship, is an awkward, childlike man. He has pleading eyes and seems star-struck by Gloria. He takes Gloria paintballing and shows overblown affection to her. However, once Rodolfo is not the centre of attention, he flees, as at Gloria’s family dinner party. Lelio is offering a thought-provoking character study of both Gloria and Rodolfo, but the study doesn’t take us anywhere. This film just didn’t fulfill the senses it laid on the table for me, but perhaps this is what Lelio wanted to achieve.

Gloria is an eloquent film that tries to be uplifting, funny and enchanting, but just doesn’t work out for all its childish behavior and insignificant pointers. But, maybe I’m just too juvenile to fully appreciate its catch?

2/5 stars

Watch the trailer below:

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