Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile Previous Previous Next Next
ADVANCE: Gloria - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Directing: C
Acting: B
Writing: C+
Cinematography: B
Editing: C

I seem to be very much in the minority on this one, as other critics are raving about Gloria, a Chilean film about a middle-aged divorcée who finds love late in life. I honestly can't understand why. Maybe there's something I'm just not getting? There's a good chance of that. I do have one key thing in my defense: this is the kind of movie that pleases critics, but bores general audiences. Trust me on that one.

Gloria is ten minutes shy of two hours, and given the premise, that is still way too long. One of the major problems is its editing, with nearly every scene going not just seconds, but minutes longer than necessary. The extended shots do nothing to enhance the story, and only serve to make the audience fidgety. If it had clocked in at, say, ninety minutes, then this film would have been much improved.

Because not a whole lot actually happens in it. We meet Gloria (Paulina Garcia, by far the best thing about this movie), and immediately see that she's an aging, lonely woman. Her two children are grown and involved in their own lives, with little time or attention for her. At least we see her regularly going to dance clubs to meet people -- that is where we meet her. If this were an American film I'd be suspicious; where in this country do you find dance floors that large so crowded with middle-aged people? I couldn't tell you how realistic a depiction that is in Santiago.

Gloria meets a certain man's eyes, who returns the stares, and he comes to her table to chat her up. They end up in bed. They start a relationship of sorts. We see more than one sex scene that reveals more -- particularly of Garcia -- than you would ever see of a middle-aged Hollywood actress. (Remember Kathy Bates in About Schmidt? Multiply that by a factor of about three.)

There's no denying that Garcia delivers a brave, nuanced performance. I'd like to see more of her in other stuff. But unlike most other critics, I do not feel her performance alone saves the movie. I would not tell you she's the one reason to go see it, because you would just come back asking why the hell I told you to go see that boring-ass movie.

The other actors in the film range from wooden to adequate. Sergio Hernández, who plays Rodolpho, the guy constantly screwing Gloria around, barely registers above deadpan. The cinematography is occasionally interesting, but all that serves is the desperate need to stay awake: Oh, look! Something nice to look at!

There is a semi-climatic scene that offers some real, emotional satisfaction between Gloria and Rodolpho, even offering some genuine laughs. But it comes along far too late; by then the movie had long before lost its grip on my attention.

The beginning scenes essentially set the stage for the whole movie, with not a whole lot happening. But at that point, I was still willing to give it a chance: I won't pass judgment until I see it through to the end. But making it to the end of this one was a struggle. It never stopped being tedious. And when the lights go up, you should be feeling satisfaction of some kind, not relief.

Paulina García is about the only even moderately interesting thing in GLORIA.

Overall: C+
Leave a comment