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Gloria Bell

Love. Life.

The track record for directors remaking their own films does not inspire great confidence. Yet Sebastian Lelio (A Fantastic Woman) triumphantly bucks the trend with Gloria Bell, the astute and witty English-language version of his 2013 Foreign Language Oscar nominee.  

Poster for Gloria Bell, starring Julianne MooreOne is the loneliest number in this bittersweet account of a feisty middle-aged woman fighting against invisibility and irrelevance. Gloria (Julianne Moore) faces the world with a smile on her face and a song in her heart. She is divorced and trying to live her best life. No longer essential in the lives of her children, she spends many an evening dancing the blues away in singles clubs.
Her lonely life looks to become a thing of the past when she catches the eye of  the recently divorced Arnold (a sweetly vulnerable John Turturro), but the tentative relationship begins to test how much she values herself and what she really wants from life.

Lelio’s exploration of Gloria’s often melancholy existence stretches through the smallest domestic moments to the harsh glare of public occasions. A deliciously awkward birthday party for her son Peter (Michael Cera) is one of the film’s comic high points, whilst a climactic wedding becomes the setting for a celebration of Gloria’s newfound sense of empowerment.

Julianne Moore’s nuanced, smiling-through-the-tears personification of Gloria’s middle-aged indomitability wins her a place amongst Lelio’s growing gallery of fantastic women. Her performance means that we are with Gloria every step of the way, sharing in the little victories and the jolting setbacks, and her hard-won belief in herself and undimmed appetite for life make for a joyous finale that is impossible to resist.

– Allan Hunter, Screen International

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