Kyle J. Steenblik

Gloria is impressive showcase of Paulina García‘s talent.

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To start with full disclosure, I did not love this movie. I was not able to identify, personally, with any of the characters, and the story simply did not spark my interest. However, I can still recognize the quality and caliber of this film, in spite of the fact that I was unmoved by the subject. I was not entirely unaffected by Paulina Garcia’s performance. One of the most difficult roles to preform is that of an ordinary person, middle-aged person. There are no quarks to play with, no external features or events to define the character. It is as close as you can come to standing naked and alone on a stage. I say this so that it is understood that when I call Paulina Garcia’s portrayal of Gloria convincing, ordinary, and fascinating it is a high compliment. The story was, as a whole, uneventful. There were no unexpected turns, no real tense moments, just the struggle of one person re-defining herself. I was left eternally wishing for something to push this character into unexpected situations, or to see what they were like before they were worn and weary. For all that I couldn’t relate on a personal level, I was unexpectedly fond of Gloria, I just wish I could have been interested in what she was doing or going through. As I see it, the primary weakness of this film is the uneventful story. If anything drives an audience away before the ending, which is fulfilling if you can make it, it is the monotony of the narrative.

Gloria (Paulina García) is a 58 years old and divorced but still feels young. Her children have grown and left home leaving her alone, and increasingly lonely. To sooth this lonesomeness Gloria spends her nights at dance clubs for single adults, looking for love, which just leads repeatedly to disenchantment and vacancy. Her insubstantial happiness changes when she meets Rodolfo (Sergio Hernández), a man seven years her senior. They enter into an intensely passionate relationship, which Gloria commits herself to, but leaves her wavering between hope and despair. She almost succumbs to these hopeless feelings until she discovers strength within herself and realizes her happiness is dependent on her and her alone.

GLORIA is Chile’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards®, and stars Paulina García in a tour de force performance that captured the Silver Bear Best Actress Award at this year’s Berlin Film Festival.

For all that I was unmoved, and am likely to forget this film for a while, I have a feeling that I will return to this later in life and find something new. The performances are phenomenal, and the direction is steady and subtle. That I didn’t like this is not the fault of the cast, director, or writer, the fault lies with the audience. 7 out of 10

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