By Rich Cline
Since Hollywood refuses to make clever, engaging films about strong 50-something women, leave it to Chile to give us a movie to celebrate. This delightful comedy-drama has a loose plot that lets Paulina Garcia's terrific title character spring wonderfully to life. And she's never a victim: Gloria is a woman who does things on her own terms.
The film opens by showing us how full her life is. She may be divorced, but Gloria enjoys her busy days, going from her office job to yoga classes, laughter therapy and helping her adult children (Fontecilla and Zamora) with their issues. And in her spare time, she heads to the local disco to meet men. It's there that she encounters Rodolfo (Hernandez), a man her age who runs an extreme sports park. As their relationship develops, Gloria begins to worry that he has no interest in her children, and even worse he constantly leaves her in the lurch so he can help his own adult daughters. So she has to make a decision.
The nice thing about Gloria is that she knows she's fine on her own; she doesn't need Rodolfo, but she likes him and is willing to put up with his baggage (including his velcro corset). Watching her deal with him gives us a striking portrait of her independent resilience. Even though she's had a rocky romantic life, she's still hopeful about love and maintains a youthful silly streak. Garcia plays all of this with a blast of personality that wins us over completely.
The film's tone matches Gloria's mischievous outlook on life, playfully stirring in some hilarious details while keeping everything earthy and natural. Awkward moments are both amusing and realistic, and every moment tells us more about this remarkable woman who can stand up for herself when she needs to, but never forgets to have fun along the way. A scene in which she puts a brave face on her true feelings is darkly moving, while her casual denial of all knowledge about a lost stash of pot makes us smile. We definitely need more movie heroes like Gloria.
Watch the trailer for Gloria here:
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Friday 19th September 1980
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures Corporation
Production compaines: Nephilim Producciones
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Fresh: 20 Rotten: 1
Cast & Crew
Director: Sebastian Lelio
Producer: Luis Collar, Juan de Dios Larrain, Pablo Larrain
Screenwriter: Sebastian Lelio, Gonzalo Maza
Starring: Paulina Garcia as Gloria, Sergio Hernández as Rodolfo, Coca Guazzini as Luz, Antonia Santa María as Maria, Diego Fontecilla as Pedro, Fabiola Zamora as Ana, Hugo Moraga as Hugo, Alejandro Goic as Gabriel, Liliana García as Flavia