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Arts and Entertainment Tuesday, Mar. 26, 2019 8 months ago

'Gloria Bell' could have been a flop, but Julianne Moore saves it

Sebastian Lelio's remake of his 2013 film "Gloria" follows a divorced mother of two trying to navigate her fifties.

Julianne Moore manages to save "Gloria Bell" from a somewhat mediocre script by delivering a fantastic performance. Her mere presence lights up the screen in each and every frame that she inhabits.

Gloria Bell (Moore) is a divorced woman in her fifties with two adult children, trying to navigate the often choppy waters of aging as best she can. She's fundamentally an optimist which, at times, makes her vulnerable. But Gloria's instincts and passion for life definitely keep her afloat. 


Her love of music draws her into dancing at a local singles disco bar where one evening she meets Arnold (John Turturro). He's recently divorced and the two hit it off immediately. Soon into the relationship, Gloria discovers Arnold has some hefty baggage that he can't seem to unpack. When he unexpectedly abandons her at her son's birthday party, she's devastated. But Arnold's persistence in making amends whittle away at her chagrin and she accepts his offer to go to Las Vegas. 

While in the middle of a lovely dinner at their hotel, Arnold politely excuses himself from the table and never returns. And suddenly we are witness to a side of Gloria previously never exposed. She grows a set of what Arnold lacked and exacts hilarious revenge. 

Sebastian Lelio directs this remake of his film "Gloria" made in 2013. It's rare but not unheard of for a director to do so. George Sluizer's "The Vanishing" didn't quite measure up to his first, but Michael Haneke's "Funny Games" did. "Gloria Bell" doesn't seem as insightful as his original version but perfectly casting Ms. Moore was a slam dunk which could propel this film into a box office success. Perhaps, even an Oscar for Moore.

Image courtesy USA Today

Watching Gloria attending laugh therapy classes, belting out '80s tunes from the car radio and getting a bikini wax are joyous moments. The intimacy she shares with the audience is so genuine that it burrows into our hearts. Gloria demonstrates that aging gracefully isn't always a possibility but she's giving it her best shot and it's a damn good one.

There are numerous reasons to catch "Gloria Bell." John Turturro is at his best since his work in HBO's "The Night Of," which was astounding. The toe-tapping music is in perfect tandem with what is playing out in the storyline (i.e. "Alone Again, Naturally" "All Out of Love" "No More Lonely Nights"). And that closing scene with Julianne Moore dancing alone out on the dance floor to Laura Branigan's "Gloria." It will raise your spirits and implant an earworm difficult to exterminate. 

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