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Now Playing: Gloria

Gloria
dir. Sebastian Lelio, 2013, Chile

Rating: 8.6

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Now playing at Landmark’s Century Center Theatre in Chicago is Gloria, a terrific 2013 Chilean comedy/drama from the young director Sebastian Lelio. While South American cinema has for decades been tragically — and ironically, given our geographical and linguistic affinities — under-distributed in North America, especially in comparison to its European and Asian counterparts, Gloria has arrived here with a fair amount of positive buzz. Most of the praise has deservedly been centered on the brilliant Paulina Garcia, who won the Best Actress prize at the Berlin International Film Festival where Gloria premiered last year. I was first hipped to Lelio’s movie by the Chilean director Fernando Lavanderos (whom I interviewed shortly afterwards and whose Las Cosas Como Son was one of the best films to play Chicago in 2013 that hardly anyone saw). Lavanderos explained that he and Lelio had worked together years ago on a documentary television show about a family living in the slums of Santiago but when he asked if I was familiar with “Gloria,” I mistakenly assumed he was referring to the 1980 John Cassavetes movie by the same title. “No, no,” Lavanderos said, laughing. “This year was the premiere of Gloria, a Chilean film influenced by Cassavetes.” This threw me when I got around to seeing Lelio’s movie recently; the Cassavetes connection does not seem obvious at first — Lelio eschews the emotional histrionics and harrowing quality associated with the legendary independent American director’s best work and allows his movie to coast by on a good deal of low-key charm instead — but both filmmakers might be said to favor a character-centric cinema that feels unusually and impressively attuned to the emotional textures of everyday life. Like Cassavetes, Lelio trains a patient camera eye on his lead character and audaciously resists taking easy emotional shortcuts. As a result, I found his Gloria to be, well, glorious.

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It has become an axiomatic truth that the vast majority of Hollywood movies have no substantial roles to offer actresses over 40. It is therefore heartening to see a new Latin American movie that is focused so intensely on a female character in her early 50s: Paulina Garcia has to carry the movie by appearing, as the resilient title character, in literally every scene. Even more impressive is how Gloria, a divorcee, is not a stereotypical neurotic single woman desperate for midlife romance (though she does briefly find that) but rather an ordinary, smart, sexy, well-adjusted woman who is content to live alone, loves her grown children, works at what looks like a mundane office job, listens to pop music, and spends her free time dancing at her local discotheque. (She is not perfect. We also see that she can be vindictive and even, on occasion, self-destructive.) It is while dancing at the club that Gloria, whose good looks are almost obscured by the unfashionably large frames of her prescription glasses, meets Rodolfo (Sergio Hernández), a 60-something gentleman and recent divorcee who picks her up by asking if she’s “always this happy,” a line that makes her erupt into laughter. A passionate affair ensues. (I should point out here that I also found it refreshing to see erotic sex scenes — and nudity — involving actors in their 50s and 60s. The world would be a much healthier place if it were more common to see love scenes featuring actors of diverse ages and body types.) The film’s central conflict eventually emerges from Rodolpho’s commitment issues — specifically Gloria’s annoyance at how he seems to prioritize attending to the needs of his two adult daughters and ex-wife, all of whom he supports financially. But this is, thankfully, also a movie that is in no real hurry to do anything: it does not put its characters through the paces of a formulaic plot, nor does it seem eager to give viewers a familiar set of emotional experiences. Lelio’s camera merely observes Gloria and if audiences have fallen in love with her, that’s likely because Lelio has not insisted that we have to.

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One of my favorite aspects of Gloria is how the film resembles a musical and indeed occasionally seems to threaten turning into one without ever doing so. One of Gloria’s defining characteristics is her love of pop songs and Lelio features more than a few scenes of her singing along to them — sometimes while driving to work and listening to the radio but also, in one exceptionally lovely sequence, while she is waxing her legs at home. These scenes provide two crucial functions: to establish the rhythm of this woman’s life, the routines of which become the rhythm of the movie, and to subtly clue viewers into her emotional state: one of the film’s key sequences features Gloria attending a house party whose revelers engage in an impromptu jam of a song by Antonio Carlos Jobim. Gloria stands apart from the crowd and sings softly along, her voice barely audible. The counterpoint between her and the other party guests reveals her sadness in the fashion of a true movie musical, prompting viewers to reflect upon exactly what in the preceding scenes may have caused her to feel this way. After a muted climax involving revenge that is too good to give away, the film ends with its most energizing sequence: Gloria attends a wedding reception and, after hesitating for a few moments, joins the wedding guests on the dance floor. Her theme song is playing, the Spanish-language version of Umberto Tozzi’s “Gloria” (made famous in the U.S. by Laura Brannigan’s English-language cover). Singing and dancing with more abandon than she has at any other point in the movie, Gloria loses herself in the music and the moment. The meaning is clear: she will survive and she will endure. I was depressed to come home from seeing Gloria and log onto the Internet Movie Database to note that some user reviews referred to it as “boring,” “pointless” and “slow.” Have viewers become so accustomed to formulas and cliches that they cannot see the “point” of a movie in which those qualities are absent? I personally felt I could have watched this woman’s life unfold onscreen forever.

You can view the trailer for Gloria on YouTube below:

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About michaelgloversmith

Filmmaker, author and Film Studies instructor. View all posts by michaelgloversmith

20 responses to “Now Playing: Gloria

  • John Charet

    Great review. I have seen this film and I gave it * * * 1/2 stars out of * * * * I thought it was very good. You are also correct that South American imports here in the States seems to be rare compared to European and Asian imports. I will admit that this is the only film I saw from director Sebastian Lelio. Since this is a Chilean import, I assume he is also from Chile. I will have to check out Las Cosas Como Son. That one is by another Chilean named Fernando Lavenderos. He is from Chile right? Anyway, what really energizes this film is Pauline Garcia’s performance as the title character. As with Greta Garbo in Queen Christina (1933) and Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday (1953), Garcia feels like the true director of the film. In other words, it is not so much a Sebastian Lelio film as it is a Pauline Garcia film. I do mean this as a compliment though. Although it may sound like an overstatement, Gloria is what you would get If John Cassavetes directed Amelie (2001) and aged the main character a bit. As you said though, this film does not have the heightened emotional drama that characterizes him, but like Lelio, they are both interested in character drama. In other words, If Cassavetes directed Amelie, it would not be too optimistic but not too pessimistic either. Nonetheless, I gave Amelie * * * * out of * * * * stars. Anyway, 2014 has its first Best Actress contender and that is none other than Pauline Garcia.

  • John Charet

    Correction: “As with Greta Garbo in Queen Christina (1933), Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday (1953) and Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch (1955), Pauline Garcia feels like the true director of Gloria.”

    Make no mistake, their are times when these actresses worked with legendary filmmakers like Ernst Lubitsch, Stanley Donen, Howard Hawks and Billy Wilder where the result felt like both a showcase for their respective director and star at the same time, I was just giving examples of a film, where the lead actress stood out as the true auteur of the film and Queen Christina, Roman Holiday, The Seven Year Itch and Gloria are prime examples of that.

    • michaelgloversmith

      I know exactly what you mean when you say that some films feel as if they were directed by their lead actresses (or perhaps their characters). I also like your AMELIE-directed-by-Cassavetes analogy, which seems like a paradox but actually makes perfect sense. You should become a film critic!

  • The Best Films of 2014: A Midyear Report | White City Cinema

    […] “Like Cassavetes, Lelio trains a patient camera eye on his lead character and audaciously resists taking easy emotional shortcuts”: https://whitecitycinema.com/2014/02/24/now-playing-gloria-2/ […]

  • Top Ten Films of 2014 | White City Cinema

    […] 20. Gloria (Lelio, Chile) – Landmark. Rating: 8.5. Full review here. […]

  • brad

    GLORIA

    Paulina Garcia is Gloria, a fifty something year old office worker. She is divorced, hangs out in bars— drinking, singing, dancing, smoking pot, and looking for adventure. Gloria is neither happy nor is she feeling sorry for herself. Gloria is a survivor. She portrays a realistic character that will always remain young at heart. However, most people in Gloria’s life do not see her as she actually is because they have a difficult time relating to a middle-age woman with a boring job and a crazy neighbor with a bald cat who is constantly in search of a new adventure. Everyone who comes into contact with her, including her own children, do not realize that the only thing that Gloria keeps going is a little love and a lot of affection.
    In the opening scene, Gloria is at a singles bar, a prim and proper middle-aged lady with a boring job, listening to romantic love songs as she sips cocktail after cocktail. She does not appear to be a real live flesh and blood human being because we have difficulty perceiving who she really is. Gloria is simply a lonely woman. She appears dancing with a younger man and abruptly leaves the bar and goes home to cuddle up with her neighbor’s cat. We pity Gloria because she appears to be a meek and mild older woman, but she is anything but a victim of her own making. She is not desperate. She’ll never give up. Gloria is a fighter who will soon discover what is most important in life.
    Gloria thinks she has discovered the real thing when she returns to the club the following evening and runs into Rodolfo. He is an older recently divorced gentleman that she becomes instantly attracted to; however, the more we get to know Rodolfo, the less we trust her taste in men. Rodolfo seems to sexually satisfy her between cell phone calls from his needy ex-wife and grown daughters whot rely upon him for most everything. Gloria and Rodolfo come with a shit load of baggage which becomes immediately apparent when they meet each other’s families, but Gloria believes there is always a possibility of finding happiness the second time around. Her body is fifty-five years old, but her desires are those of a seventeen year old girl. Gloria is in search of excitement and passion in order to survive, and that is what we love about Gloria.

  • LuLu

    Gloria is a Chilean comedy-drama film that first premiered at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival and directed by Sebastian Lelio. From the moment the movie began the viewer can see the main character Gloria dancing at an upbeat and funky nightclub. Right away she seems to have a carefree, multi-dimensional, and warm personality. I agree with what was said in class that Gloria’s personality seems to dominate this film and the story definitely grows out of this person.

    This film is about a middle-aged divorced women who likes to live it up by going clubbing by herself and keeping an eye on her grown children. I personally feel that she was very independent, but also lonely. Throughout the movie we see Gloria reaching out to her children, but they all seem engrossed in their own lives that they tend to push their mother to the curb. One night Gloria meets Rodolfo a recently divorced man who his several years older than Gloria. Both seem to click right away and all seems to go well for the both of them. However Rodolfo cannot seem to fully immerse himself in their relationship because he is being held back from his daughters and ex, yet he seems to like being needed.

    Rodolfo is my least favorite character in the film. He does not have the courage to live his life on his terms. He has Gloria right in front of him and he lets her slip right through his fingers. Gloria deserved someone a lot better than him. Unlike Rodolfo, Gloria was dedicated/committed to their relationship and she was living life on her own terms. I like that she was not a stereotype of a 50 year old women she is definitely an unforgettable character. My favorite scene in Gloria is when she attacks Rodolfo’s house with the paintball gun and shoots him with it too. That scene shows that she got back at Rodolfo in her own quirky yet funny way.

    Being a feminist is living in a society where women can live a fully determined life. At the end of the film the song “Gloria” comes on and at first she was hesitant to dance to it, but she slowly eases into it. Her dance moves are different than everyone else and it shows that even though things went south with Rodolfo she’s not going to let that prevent her from living her life freely. I really enjoyed this movie and although some of the Chilean Spanish words were different from Mexico’s Spanish it was cool to see how different Latin-American countries speak Spanish and how some of it overlaps with other Spanish speaking countries. At the end hearing the song Gloria by Gloria Trevi in Spanish made me want to get up and dance with Gloria. Overall it was a great film!!

  • Krista Peters

    Gloria is a film that I will never forget. I loved it! Gloria is a treasured character who comes off as this geeky looking middle aged, disco dancing man seeking lonely woman. She comes off very pathetic to me in the beginning, but as I get to know her she actually begins to inspire me.
    I can relate to her because her heart and mind are confused when she meets Rodolfo. Rodolfo is her love interest that she met at the disco. I thought it was cute when they were making eye contact back and forth before he came up to her. The sick seek the sick. What I mean by that is the lonely, broken hearted, messed up (people with issues) usually find the sickest person in the room. So in my opinion Gloria and Rodolfo are perfect for each other!
    What really bothered me about Rodolfo is that he lied by omission by not telling his children about Gloria. Gloria is such a sweetheart, very charming. If I were Rodolfo, I would tell my children in a heartbeat!
    Gloria in the end became free and I believe she learned her lesson from Rodolfo for sure! When that guy asked her if she wanted to dance, she, without hesitation said no, and went on that dance floor and raised her hands up and had a huge smile on her face…. priceless!

  • Danny

    I thought the movie Gloria was an interesting film and character study. The title character, played by Paulina Garcia, is the character of study here. Filmed and directed like something made by Gus Van Sant, director Sebastian Lelio shows us a character who is in her mid-fifties and who is struggling with loneliness, old age, and maintaining her independence. Despite all that, she is actually a lot of fun to watch and, despite being “old,” is actually young in spirit. For example, Gloria waits to have a cigarette secretly after her daughter, enjoys dancing and going out and making out with guys she only had met moments earlier, smokes weed, jokes around by dipping her phone in her food, plays paintball, and enjoys being read poetry to by her main male interest in this film, Rodolfo. All of these things sound like what a girl in her teens would do. On the flip side though, Gloria gets messages throughout the film reminding her of her aging. In one scene where a mariachi band is playing and a skeleton is dancing, Gloria approaches it and puts money in front of the puppet. It’s almost like this is a metaphor for death dancing in front of her as a reminder of her approaching old age.

    I also appreciated the cinematography in this film. Particularly, I enjoyed how once Gloria is told that she has an eye disease, the camera’s focus changes and certain shots become blurry and unfocused especially when the camera is following Gloria. It’s almost as if the director and cinematographer are trying to give us a glimpse at what Gloria is experiencing. This makes the film all the more interesting to watch from her literal point of view.

  • Tamara Fleysh

    Sebastian Lelio in the movie “Gloria” portrayed the relationship between a woman of certain age, Gloria, and the man Rodolfo. The movie began with scenes of Gloria’s somewhat boring life. Then, in the middle of the movie she met Rodolfo and her life became an emotional roller-coaster. Rodolfo at first was reading love poems to Gloria, then left her alone without a word at her son Pedro’s party. He also told her that he loved her, and then diapered without explanations during their trip. At the end of movie Gloria who was a strong and independent woman understood she no longer need Rodolfo. She realizes that he is a coward, who needed to be in control, and who liked only dysfunctional relationship such as those with his ex-wife and two adult daughters who were completely dependent on him. Gloria realized that she does not need anybody to feel free and happy.
    The Chilean actress Paulina Garcia as Gloria is spectacular. During the movie her face was changing from younger looking to older and back to younger looking again.She played a lonely middle age woman, who was divorced, with two older children who were not close to her. For example, she could see her son Pedro when her grandchild was sick or on Pedro’s birthday, and she would only see her daughter Anna when she went to yoga classes that Anna taught.
    “Gloria” is a musical movie. The character Gloria sang everywhere: her car, a social party, even while waxing her legs. The music was very rhythmic and reminded me of disco songs. I really enjoyed the scene where Gloria was laying naked on the bed next to the ugly “naked” cat. The scene was somewhat innocent and humorous in same time.

  • darcy

    One of the reasons why there’s a lack of female leads on screen is because men view woman as too “complex” to fit into one character. Gloria is a film that proves otherwise, the main character is someone who from the start of the film is happy being alone at a nightclub (I disagree with the people who called her pathetic, she’s drinking and smiling, and I don’t think that just because she’s single doesn’t make her in any way pathetic). Like you said in your review, Gloria is far from perfect, and that’s why she’s such a complex character. I’m tired of seeing the same formulaic one dimensional female character, so it’s refreshing for me to see an emotional, vindictive, and self-destructive middle age woman who I could empathize with. Even though I’m not a middle age woman, I could still feel cognitive empathy and identify with her. I understood how she felt when Rodolfo ended up being a huge a** hole (sorry, I couldn’t think of a nicer way of phrasing this) and she wasted her time and energy on him and seemed to get nothing out of the relationship (except for sex…k I’m done). I could understand her pain when Rodolfo left in the middle of a family dinner without telling her, she gave him a chance to meet her family and he completely blew it, and left her to clean up his mess. I didn’t feel this way because my emotions were being manipulated, because there wasn’t much of a score except for pop music or dramatic camera movements or any other sort of tools that could have possibly manipulated me, but because Gloria was already an emotional character that I could feel for, despite my age and background.

    I loved the ending of the film, where Gloria hears the song “Gloria” come on at a party and refuses a man’s offer to dance in favor of dancing on her own. I think she’ll eventually end up in a relationship, but by refusing to dance with that man, it’s showing that she doesn’t have to dance with every man that comes her way, just the one that feels right. In many Hollywood films a happy ending with a female lead consists of a woman finding true love, which sends the message that you need a man to make you happy. Even though Gloria didn’t find a man at the end of the film, this is by no means an unhappy ending, but a happy one, because Gloria found love within herself.

  • Torrance

    Gloria the movie: I thought this movie was interesting at times,an relatable to single males and female, how being single can get lonely and finding love in all the wrong places.The film director kind of made you feel like Gloria did not see her children very much she live the single life and then was on her own a lot, I felt that the director in this movie wanted to show you how Gloria get over heartache and pain from dating this one guy in the movie that kept just leaving her in different places, and said he was single but still was taking care of his family at home, the part of the movie that I enjoyed was when she took the paintball gun and walked in front of this gentleman’s house and shot him with his own paint guns it was kind of funny, I got the feeling in this movie the director wanted to show you how strong of a woman that gloria was dealing with different obstacles in her life with her daughter leaving this gentleman keeps taking her out and ditching her and she was able to bounce back from all of that.I think for a single woman this would be a great movie to watch, as for men I see the director kind of show a negative side towards the gentleman in the movie he told Gloria that he was single but he was living at home with his family because he still had to take care of them, I cannot see myself watching this movie again this is more of a woman type of movie but very catchy, a lot of great camera angles in this movie you kind of feel her pain in the movie when she singing in the car going to her next destination, what I got out of the movie is how strong gloria was with dealing with her daughter moving to a different country and this guy claim her for his family and when the doctor told her that she had glaucoma it just seems to me that it really didn’t phase her she lives her life and I think that’s kind of what the director wanted me to see, 2 cheers for a good chick flick to see.

  • Alina

    Gloria the character is a young at heart woman in her fifties that does as she pleases and has the freedom to. Her adult children are independent and no longer in need of her. Rodolfo is the opposite: he is tied down by his codependency with his children and does not experience the same freedom she does. Nevertheless, when they begin their relationship he seems to be smitten like a schoolboy. As the story unfolds, we see that this is exactly the type of “love” he feels for her. It is more infatuation and has little emotional depth. He gives her false promises of love but abandons her twice. The first time he leaves in more understandable, as watching Gloria and her ex-husband is awkward and sad for him. The second time is completely unfounded, selfish, and solidifies him as a whipped ass.
    Gloria is a stubborn and headstrong woman who will not tolerate such treatment. When he leaves she acts like a teenager would, partying and making out with men. This is not a judgmental statement; she is simply being herself and trying to cope with Rodolfo’s second betrayal. It is sad to see her wakeup the next morning on a beach in her clothes from the night before. She seems to have a semi-wake up call that culminates in the scene where she shoots Rodolfo with a paintball gun. After all, Gloria is an independent headstrong woman who refuses to take Rodolfo’s crap. In the end, we see that once again she is dancing and free to be herself.

  • Adrian Pollard

    Gloria Screen Review by: Adrian

    All to often, we are presented with films depicting what it is to be young. We think that we face different scenarios than people of older age but when it comes to love, it can bring us right back to the same feelings and issues we carry in youth. When we fall in love there is something very similar to youth that happens. We begin to become as naïve as a toddler, everything we’ve learned before gets blurred, and it fixates us like a dog that sees a squirrel in a tree. The film “Gloria” directed by Sebastian Lelio is no exception and shows the struggles of youth, older age, and love within.

    Gloria (Paulina Garcia) is a divorced woman who’s become accustom to the loneliness of older age. She has found her way of dealing through family gatherings and nights out on the town to dance the night away all by herself. Through out the film we see everyone zooming past her as if she is missing something. For example such as when she seems clueless what to do when holding her grandchild, or when she dresses up younger when going to meet up with her daughter and her boyfriend. Many scenes depict her has always trying to uphold herself through positivity classes were she lies between piles of people laughing hysterically which is one of many ways the director gives us insight into her seemingly comfort ability within her own independence.

    After Gloria meets an older claiming divorced man named Rodolfo (Sergio Hernandez) when out dancing and things would become beautifully complicated to say the least. Much like the director Michael Smith comments on in his review, I agree with the beauty of two old couples having sex also. There is something beautiful and refreshing about seeing two individuals have sex without all the bells and whistles. There is something there that throws out Hollywood perfection and it all looks just as real and at times even more passionate possibly due to the expectations of youth being thrown out the window.

    The director keeps such a heavy focus on the main character to tell this all to familiar but unfamiliar in cinematic filmed story. When Gloria and Rodolfo go paint balling, we see a group of guys tired and exhausted of paintballing while the two are full of energy and kiss. I feel the director was implying here that there new love was of more energy and youth than being youthful itself. Almost as if she found that young spark again, but things aren’t always paradise in love.

    Finally we get to see the consequences of heartache and how it is no different in adulthood. Rodolfo becomes a coward often leaving Gloria to go back home and take care of his ex wife and family possibly showing his selfish need to be needed. Gloria on the other hand isn’t needed and is forced to live for herself giving her the freedom to go back to loving herself and learning in the end that she is the key s to being free and as youthful as she makes herself to be.

  • Marguerite Yang

    I agree with Michael Smith that it is a pleasant break to see a film where the main character of the film is a women in her 50’s who is portrayed as a real person and not a stereotype. The director portrays Gloria as real in many memorable scenes. For example, Gloria’s walking down memory lane with her ex-husband at their son’s birthday party – and her forgetting her date (Rodolfo) during that walk. I enjoyed the director’s twist in her date being not just irritated and uncomfortable by the situation, but actually disappearing from the party without warning her. This twist is unexpected, but not unbelievable.

    Another touch of realness was the director’s portrayal of her reaction to Rodolfo’s disappearing during their romantic “make-up” weekend trip. Her reaction was not a surprise, but it was kept from being the stereotype revenge fling by turning out to be a robbery that leaves her stranded and begging help from a female friend even older than herself.

    I like how the director addresses the new (at least in the U.S.) trend for an adult younger generation to be wholly dependent on an adult older generation – and the older generation allowing the dependence to over-take his life. I have seen this trend of dependency, and I do not understand it. I craved to get out of my parent’s household and to prove myself independent. My sons were told throughout their grade school and high school years that they were out of my house by their 18th birthday (and they were).

    So I can definitely relate to Gloria’s frustration over Rodolfo’s allowing his adult daughters to be so dependent on him. If Rodolfo was in his 60’s, then he is letting his daughters rob him of his retirement living funds. I can understand a little better why he lets his ex-wife remain dependent on him – but I do not understand why he expects Gloria to accept that situation either. I enjoy watching the director’s building in Gloria the decision that Rodolfo is not worth the pain and her symbolic death of their relationship through her shooting him (with a paint gun he gave her) and then going to a party without him, like the movie starts. His weakness does not permanently injure her.

    I would recommend this movie to those who like to see a slice of life from the eyes of another age group.

  • Alex

    Gloria is a film that shows not only young people have trouble finding themselves, it instead can be a life long quest. This motion picture can scare a younger audience by showing that your dreams don’t always necessarily come true in the way you want them too and there will always be some sort of drama in your life. In the beginning of the film Gloria calls all of her children asking them to talk to her, so from right then we can see how lonely she feels. She also goes to a dance club for the older generation, but by herself just hoping to meet someone as she dances alone and attempts to get the attention of men who are dancing with other women. One night at the club she meet an older gentleman named Rodolfo.
    Rodolfo is a man who claims to be divorced although his ex-wife and two daughters still heavily rely on him for money. As soon as he says this you can tell Gloria is unsure how she feels about Rodolfo “pretty much” being divorced. As we can start to see Gloria and Rodolfo are complete opposites in nearly every way. For one, their children; Gloria’s children are extremely independent and barely call, while Rodolfo’s call everyday and ask him for checks. And while Gloria works for a company, Rodolfo has his own business which means he needs to in a way rely on others for a source of income. Gloria is also not afraid of telling someone to step off and leave her alone but Rodolfo begs and pleads for her to give him attention and love. This man is afraid of losing anything which is why he never gave anything up. Now there’s the question of whether Gloria is afraid of obtaining anything new, besides experiences such as smoking weed, as she dances alone at the end of the movie but by choice.
    Gloria is middle-aged but never lets her age keep her down. She knows she’s not truly sure of who she is or what she wants but she isn’t afraid to go out into the world and take it all in. One of the most shocking scenes is when she’s with the other man, as Rodolfo had disappeared, in a club that is meant for very young people but she enjoys it all the same. A scene that shows how brave and strong willed Gloria is is when she breaks up with Rodolfo by shooting his house and him with his own paintball guns and then putting the pedal to the metal. At the end of the film you can see that she only wants to make forward progress and not get caught up in anything that could drag her down.
    As a side note the old people sex was slightly disturbing but also refreshing as you described it.

  • Nicole Ochal

    Gloria
    Gloria is a witty and silly movie about a woman who is trying to find someone to love her after she got a divorce. She frequently goes to the bars and dances with men or even by herself. She was a serious woman who loved to let loose and really find herself. She’s a mother of two and recently she feels unneeded by her children because they have grown up so much, we see this when she tries to call them and neither of them answer, which makes her feel sort of bad so she decides to go out and dance about it.
    She meets a guy at one night and starts dancing with him and later that night they go home together. It was instant attraction and they seemed really great together. They start hanging out more, and then Gloria brings him to her sons birthday party, her ex husband is there and the whole family, so its understandable why he disappeared from the party. Later in he tells her why he left and he just felt uncomfortable.
    Gloria is a middle-aged woman who really is just the source of the party. She’s fun and she doesn’t even try to be, she just knows how to make herself happy and others. She lights up any room she goes into.
    When her boyfriend tried to apologize for leaving her at the family party he takes her on a vacation where as soon as they get there he gets a call from his daughters about how his wife jumped out a window. His girls are old as in 30 and 35 range, so they are able to take care of each other on their own and even take care of their mother. I think the reason why they depend on him so much is because he likes to be needed so he never corrected them when they started to need him all the time, he financially supports them and I cant help but feel like he loves to be needed and its his choice, where as Gloria would love for her kids to need her. There’s a balance between these two people.
    At the end we see her dancing by herself because she didn’t need a man to make her happy, she was happy by herself and really figured out how to be the person she wanted to be. This was probably my favorite movie so far, and the sound track was great.

  • Charlie Weil

    Charlie Weil
    Cinema Studies
    7/18/15

    “Gloria” (Sebastian Lelio, United States/ 2013)
    By: Charlie Weil

    I found “Gloria”, a film that encapsulated themes of independence, self- expression, family values, feminism, and idealism all in one. The film featured a commanding performance from its lead, Paulina Garcia, as the free- spirited, independent; fun loving and middle aged Gloria. She has an abundance of charisma, energy, exuberance and spontaneity in her performance. I was easily able to suspend disbelief and lose myself in the performance of Gloria. The film had other fantastic performances from the actor who played Gloria’s boyfriend, Rodolfo, as well as a scene stealing performance from Sergio Hernandez, who played Gloria’s ex- husband. They were both very believable in establishing their relationships with Gloria, and giving the audience background and context to their characters.
    The film also had a great musical composition to it, which became in a way, its own character. The score of the film defined her personality with her childlike persona and her fun, outgoing and spontaneous personality. Paulina Garcia gave an enchanting performance as Gloria because she captured the essence of her free- spirited nature and down-to-earth, confident outlook on life. It was a very enjoyable film to watch because of its fun performances, its beautiful cinematography, and its effective musical score.

    I found the director of the film, Sebastian Lelio, incorporated many themes of family, independence, authenticity to oneself, and resilience. It did so in a way that made the audience relate to these characters in a realistic, natural way. Every theme that was touched upon in this film was done so where the audience felt as if they were witnessing actual people, as opposed to characters in a movie. Each actor in the film gave an astonishing level of natural realism in his or her performance that made the film realistic to watch. There were not any moments of over-the-top, hysterical emotions because this film did not need it. It benefitted without it. Sebastian Lelio instead wanted to initiate the use of natural realism in their characterizations to add more substance and texture to the performances.

    The realistic, natural performances gave a more honest interpretation to the movie, which added more substance and depth to it as well. I also want to point out that the actors in this film did not have conventional, Hollywood, movie- star looks. They were ordinary looking people, with ordinary body features. I feel that the fact that these characters did not rely on plastic surgery or any forms of youth to obtain their looks is a true testament to the actors’ part on letting themselves age gracefully on camera. I am not saying the characters were completely unattractive people; but they did not have the looks that most A- list Hollywood celebrities have; which made the experience all the more authentic. For example, Gloria was a middle- aged woman in her fifties, and she looked so. She had wrinkles on her face; she had lines on her face, and was somewhat frumpy with her wardrobe and her appearance. Rodolfo looked like an average, plain- looking middle- aged man with grey hair, some health issues, and he had a beer belly. He wasn’t obese or anything, he was just carried his extra weight in his stomach; which made him even more authentic as a character. I specifically enjoyed the idea the filmmaker had of the sex scene between the characters of Gloria and Rodolfo. I liked it because the audience is witnessing two middle- aged, average looking people getting intimate; instead of seeing two very attractive, young people getting intimate; which is what audiences see in conventional Hollywood films. Sebastian Lelio wanted to show two realistic looking, middle- aged people getting intimate to show the audience that not everyone you see in a movie getting intimate has to be thin, attractive and gorgeous. He wanted to show it from a perspective that most of the world could relate to and make a realistic connection with.

    The cinematography in this film was also outstanding. The cinematography of the film was fun and engaging to watch because it flowed through all of Gloria’s movements. When it was discovered that Gloria had Glaucoma, the cinematography starts to get blurry because it was through her point-of-view. She had faulty eyesight, so the cinematography was a reflection off of that. I loved how the film always followed the story through her eyes, and it rarely ever changed from anybody else’s perspective. The cinematography in the film was stunning because the camera movements always showed every single situation she experienced through how she perceived it. It was also stunning because the film had great visuals of every place Gloria frequented throughout the course of the film. The film had amazing shots of the nightclubs she frequented, the close up shots of the eye drops she used for her Glaucoma, and the medium close up shots of Gloria and Rodolfo getting intimate with each other. The camera never shied away from them, and always kept a close proximity between each character to show their reactions to what was happening.

    In conclusion, I thought Gloria was a film that encapsulated themes of independence, self- expression, family values, feminism and idealism all in one. The film also had exceptional performances from Paulina Garcia, Sergio Hernandez and the actor who portrayed Gloria’s ex husband. The film also was clear of any shallow moments between the characters. It was a remarkable film, and I would definitely recommend it to everyone I know.

  • Mia

    Gloria is a character I will never forget, and that is mainly thanks to Lelio’s focus on her character. Just like in real life, it takes time and patience to get familiar with a person and just like in reality, this film takes it’s time to display Gloria in several different environments with several different people that she may or may not be familiar with. The fact that Gloria is in her early 50s makes her that much more interesting. I know many girls my age and the people in my generation and even though they are each unique and fascinating, it’s the people who are outside of my generation that are mysterious to me and interest me the most. I work as a sales associate and meet many different types of people. I love getting customers that are closer to my age range because I can relate to them and am more comfortable talking to them. I can ask them about college or if they are from around here, sometimes we have mutual friends or common interests. When I get an older person in their 50s like Gloria, I have no idea what to expect or how to socialize with them. I also feel like while I am judgint them for their age, they are doing the same for me since I am so much younger than they are. However, these people are the most interesting and surprising since I have no idea what to expect.

    Gloria definitely surprised me. If I saw Gloria come into my work, I would think she was a quiet, reserved, married woman with children or grandchildren who probably cooks and cleans and watches day time television all day and doesn’t get out much. Maybe once in a while her girl friends would come over to her house for pastries and drinks to discuss recent news and complain about their husbands and brag about their grandchildren. Boy! Would I have been so wrong! In fact, Gloria is more outgoing, independent, and easygoing than most girls I know. If anything, Gloria is an inspiration to me and inspires me to be brave enough to dance in a club alone, or go to a laughing class alone, or basically do anything enjoyable without needing someone to come with me. I used to go to plays alone, which is easy since there’s no need for talking or social interactions, but even that gave me a sense of independence and like I was doing something purely selfish, which felt great. I can only imagine how I would feel if I were to be so independent as Gloria, but it’s films with characters like Gloria that make me want to try.

    One of my favorite shots was when Gloria walks outside to see a beautiful white peacock. It was just so unexpected yet beautiful. I agree with you, Mike, that there is no needs for formulas and cliches, in fact, I roll my eyes whenever I see a typical plot begin. It really ruins the rest of the film if I know what is pretty much going to happen. When I was younger, I would watch films and my mom might sit down and see what I’m watching. It would be a film that neither of us have seen, and after about 3 minutes of watching, my mom would “you know what’s going to happen, right?” and I would get so pissed off because she’d always ruin the plot because she knew the formula. Eventually, she passed that habit on to me and now I’m the one ruining film plots for people. However, a few times my mom would be wrong, and it was those few times she was wrong that I saw her true interest in the film be born. She taught me that the best films were the ones that were unpredictable, and she was right. I’d love to show Gloria to my mother and see what she has to say. As an independent, successful, somewhat of a party person, I think she’ll love Gloria, too.

    Side note: After watching Gloria, I think we all have a good idea of what to do if a man like Rodolpho ever slithers into our life. Brilliant, sexy, and downright funny revenge scene!

  • Charlie Weil

    **( A Better Edited Version of “Gloria” Film Analysis Paper)**

    Charlie Weil
    Cinema Studies
    7/21/15

    “Gloria” (Sebastian Lelio, Mexico/ 2013)
    By: Charlie Weil

    I found “Gloria”, a film that encapsulated themes of independence, self- expression, family values, feminism, and idealism all in one. The film featured a commanding performance from its lead, Paulina Garcia, as the free- spirited, independent; fun loving and middle aged Gloria. She has an abundance of charisma, energy, exuberance and spontaneity in her performance. I was easily able to suspend disbelief and lose myself in the performance of Gloria. The film had other fantastic performances from the actor who played Gloria’s boyfriend, Rodolfo, as well as a scene stealing performance from Sergio Hernandez, who played Gloria’s ex- husband. They were both very believable in establishing their relationships with Gloria, and giving the audience background and context to their characters.
    The film also has a great musical composition, which in a way, is its own character. The score of the film defines Gloria’s personality with her childlike persona and her fun, outgoing and spontaneous personality. Paulina Garcia gives an enchanting performance as Gloria. She captures the essence of her free- spirited nature and down-to-earth, confident outlook on life. Overall, “Gloria” was a very enjoyable film to watch because of its fun performances, its beautiful cinematography, and its effective musical score.

    The director of the film, Sebastian Lelio, incorporated many themes of family, independence, authenticity to oneself, and resilience. It did so in a way that made the audience relate to these characters in a realistic, natural way. Every theme that was touched upon in this film helped the audience feel that it was witnessing actual people, not characters in a movie. Each actor invested gave an astonishing level of realism in his or her performance. There were no over-the-top, hysterical emotional scenes because this film did not need them. Sebastian Lelio instead wanted to initiate the use of natural realism in the characters to add more substance and texture to the performances.

    Adding to Lelio’s approach, the actors in this film did not have conventional, Hollywood, movie- star looks. They were ordinary looking people, with ordinary body features. That these characters did not rely on plastic surgery or similar youth- enhancing techniques to obtain their looks facilitated showing them age gracefully on camera. For example, Gloria is portrayed as a middle- aged woman in her fifties, complete with wrinkles and a frumpy wardrobe and overall appearance. Rodolfo is depicted as an average, middle- aged, plain looking man with grey hair, some health issues, and a beer belly, all making him more authentic. Of note was the sex scene between Gloria and Rodolfo, the audience witnesses an encounter between two- middle aged, average looking people. Director, Sebastian Lelio wanted to show two realistic looking, middle- aged people in an intimate setting to show the audience that not everyone you see in a movie in a sex scene has to be thin and gorgeous. He wanted to show it from a perspective that most of the world could relate to and make a realistic connection with.

    The cinematography in this film was fun and engaging, as it flowed through all of Gloria’s movements. When it was discovered that Gloria had glaucoma, the filming starts to get blurry because it was through her point-of-view. She had faulty eyesight, so the cinematography was a reflection of that. I loved how the film always followed the story through her eyes, and it rarely ever changed from anybody else’s perspective. The camera movements showed every single situation that Gloria was experiencing; not as she perceived or felt it. The film had great visuals of every place Gloria frequented, including the nightclubs she frequented, the close- up shots of the eye drops she used for her glaucoma, and the medium close- up shots of Gloria and Rodolfo getting intimate with each other. The camera never shied away from them, and always kept a close proximity between each character to show their spontaneous reactions to what was happening.

    In conclusion, I thought Gloria was a film that encapsulated themes of independence, self- expression, family values, feminism and idealism all in one. The film also had exceptional performances from Paulina Garcia, Sergio Hernandez and the actor who portrayed Gloria’s ex husband. The film also was clear of any shallow moments between the characters. It was a remarkable film, and I would definitely recommend it to everyone I know.

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