Love ain’t easy…
Festival darling Gloria Bell is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray and it makes for an interesting experiment as writer/director Sebastian Lelio remakes his own film into English and manages to lose little to nothing in translation.
Gloria (Julianne Moore) is a free-spirited middle-aged divorcee who spends her days at a straight laced office job and her nights on the dance floor. After meeting Arnold (John Turturro) on a night out she suddenly finds herself thrust into an unexpected new romance filled with both the joys of budding love and the complications of mature dating.
Rebooting his original Gloria in English; Gloria Bell is a subtle and nuanced statement on the nature and complexity of relationships at a certain age and when you’re a woman.
Lelio has somehow managed to make a foreign language film but in English. This film plays with such subtlety and it makes for an incredibly beautiful experience as we look at the compelling nature of life itself. Lelio doesn’t do stories in grand flourishes, rather he tells stories about ordinary people and lets their humanity shine through.
It’s not a story about plot, but it’s a film with such a free flowing energy that you can’t help but get beguiled into it all even though there really isn’t all that much going on. Stories about men letting down women are quite frankly a dime a dozen because it happens all too often, but here he allows for something genuinely vibrant to come through as we follow the life and times of a very vulnerable woman who is simply looking for happiness. Lelio isn’t just repeating beats from his original film but rather, he’s remaking them to feel fresh once again.
As brilliant as Sebastian Lelio is as a storyteller this film simply wouldn’t have worked without the simply fearless Julianne Moore to really inhabit the skin of what it means to be this individual.
In Hollywood, films with middle aged women as the protagonist are rarely if EVER done but Moore truly anchors this film. Much like anyone out there, she’s just looking for that slightly better life and an excuse to get lost in something pleasurable, be it an unexpected romance or simply the right song spurring her on to the dance floor. Moore shines in the ambiguity of the narrative as we see her ride the highs and the lows of life when her family unit as moved past her. It’s rare that an actor can be heartbreaking one moment, yet kind of goofy the next but that is the honest joy of this film. John Turturro is wonderful opposite her as her male counterpart wading into the world of post divorced life and the likes of Michael Cera, Brad Garrett, Rita Wilson and Jeanne Tripplehorn are all wonderful in small yet key supporting roles, orbiting Gloria’s world.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray are first rate as Lelio really washes the film in lots of soft and dynamic color tones throughout. The special features include a feature length commentary track from writer/director Sebastian Lelio, Soundbites, Cast & Crew Interviews and a brief ‘Making Of’ Gloria Bell.
While you can easily make the argument of Gloria Bell being a feminist statement and how life doesn’t end (especially for women) after 40 but it also serves as a reminder to find the joys in living and not letting your personal happiness be defined by what you think you should have in your life.
- Genre: Drama, Romance
- Release Date: 6/4/2019
- Directed by: Sebastián Lelio
- Starring: John Turturro, Julianne Moore
- Written by: Sebastián Lelio
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