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Gloria – Review – movieScope

Gloria – Review

This nuanced, light-hearted drama from Chilean director Sebastián Lelio follows Gloria, a spirited, fiftysomething divorcée determined not to let life pass her by. Unencumbered by her loving but slightly distant family, she seeks excitement and romance in the middle-aged singles bars of Santiago, and when she meets the older but nevertheless passionate Rodolfo (Sergio Hernández), a one-night stand turns into something more serious. Soon, however, his complicated family life casts a shadow over their relationship, and Gloria finds she must face the choices of a life of diminishing options.

Gloria is a charming – if slow-moving – piece, and its appeal hangs heavily around a wonderful performance by Paulina García in the title role. By turns dreamy, sassy and melancholic, she has the ability to lift a scene with a facial expression or simple gesture. Hernández as Rodolfo, too, turns out a stellar performance – the scene in which he is subjected to a rowdy interrogation by Gloria’s family is painfully enjoyable.

The narrative functions via the gentle layering of detail upon detail, rather than explosive exposition, and is none the worse off for it – although there are moments of high drama and hilarity dotted along the sedate storyline. In the end, you can’t help but root for Gloria, and the film’s gently uplifting conclusion signs off the story with a warm-hearted flourish. 

3 stars

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