[ Sebastián Lelio’s update of his 2013 film, Gloria, doesn’t
change much from the original, but Julianne Moore’s pitch-perfect
work is reason enough to watch. ] [] 




 David Sims 
 March 8, 2019
The Atlantic

	* []

 _ Sebastián Lelio’s update of his 2013 film, Gloria, doesn’t
change much from the original, but Julianne Moore’s pitch-perfect
work is reason enough to watch. _ 

 Julianne Moore in Gloria Bell, 


The heroine of Umberto Tozzi’s song “Gloria_,_” according to the
Laura Branigan cover that rocked U.S. charts in 1982, is a woman in
search of something that might not exist anymore. “I think you’ve
got to slow down / Before you start to blow it / I think you’re
headed for a breakdown / So be careful not to show it,” Branigan
sings on the upbeat disco track. Her take was a total reworking of
Tozzi’s original, more conventional love ballad. And while the
Chilean director Sebastián Lelio used the Tozzi song as the main
character’s theme for his 2013 film, _Gloria_, the movie had the
spirit of Branigan’s version: an alternately melancholic and hopeful
look at a 50-something divorced woman’s efforts to reenter the
dating scene.

Now, perhaps fittingly, _Gloria_ is getting its own American update.
The version currently in theaters, also directed by Lelio, is
titled _Gloria Bell_, and Julianne Moore (who reportedly developed
[] the
idea of a remake with Lelio
takes on the lead role first performed by Paulina García. But where
the U.S. cover of Tozzi’s song changed its meaning in surprising
ways, this cinematic update is a pretty loving copy of Lelio’s 2013
film. If you’ve seen the original, the similarities might be too
much to take. But if you never caught _Gloria_, _Gloria
Bell _stands by itself nicely—a totally captivating yarn that gives
Moore center stage to do the kind of rich, arresting work that
actresses in their 50s can rarely find in Hollywood.

When the film begins, Gloria Bell has been long divorced from her
ex-husband, Dustin (Brad Garrett). She’s also growing detached from
her stressed-out, adult children, Peter (Michael Cera) and Anne (Caren
Pistorius), and is settling into a funk at her office job. Rather than
giving in to the doldrums of empty-nest syndrome, Gloria decides to
throw herself back into the dating scene, going to clubs, hitting
singles bars, and generally saying yes to any opportunity that
presents itself. The usual Hollywood version of this story would
follow a Nancy Meyers formula: a bunch of heightened comic sketches as
our heroine goes on dates, plus soapier dramatic moments focused on
her family and the lingering pull of her ex. (Yes, I’m mostly
thinking of _It’s Complicated._)

_Gloria Bell_ has a freer, slightly darker spirit than the _cinéma
du Meyers_. The world Gloria dives into is exciting, but laden with
its own complications. Rather than offering Gloria an escape from the
stresses of her family, dating brings into her life new people for her
to be anxious about. She quickly falls for Arnold (John Turturro), the
recently divorced operator of a paintball compound—a sometimes
lothario with his own pile of neuroses and family issues. Turturro
does excellent work conveying what an elegant charmer Arnold can be,
before some unpredictable trigger suddenly turns him cold and distant.

The central drama in _Gloria Bell _isn’t Arnold’s strange
behavior, nor is it the various problems besieging Gloria’s kids
(Peter is dealing with a new baby, while Anne is getting ready to move
to a new city). It’s the question of what kind of life Gloria
deserves versus what she can find. Arnold is clearly far from perfect,
but Gloria is wrestling with whether this oft-cruel world holds anyone
better for her. In this role, Moore is ideally cast; she’s luminous,
occasionally a little out of touch, and sometimes outright furious at
the hand she’s been dealt. As her prospective partner, Turturro is a
scream, keeping his energy bottled up until it spills out in some
unexpected direction.

Lelio won an Oscar
[] for
the 2017 drama _A Fantastic Woman_
his last film, and his English-language debut, was the
religious forbidden-love drama _Disobedience_
a story that was simply too dour to build up much narrative
momentum. _Gloria Bell_, however, is dynamic even when its lead is
despondent; it’s a buzzy, engaging work that’s powered along by
Moore (who’s onscreen for just about every second of its 102-minute
running time). Given its similarity to the original, _Gloria
Bell _could have just been a curiosity—but the hilarious
performances by Moore, Cera, and Turturro make Lelio’s return to his
own material more than worth it.

DAVID SIMS _is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he covers

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