Movie review: 'Gloria' is a charming and funny adventure

For the News-DemocratJanuary 30, 2014 

What It's About

Hail, hail, the middle-aged heroine Gloria! You might not know who Paulina Garcia is but if you see this buoyant comedy-drama from Chile about the highs and lows of starting over, you will never forget this actress's portrayal of the glorious Gloria

Gloria is an office worker in Santiago who hits the social dance club scene after her divorce. Lonely, scared and eager to write a new chapter in her life, she's looking for love. All's well when she meets a recently divorced Rodolfo, and they click, but red flags start popping up.

Can the baggage be managed in order to have a partner in life or is it better to be on one's own and independent? That's the dilemma facing our fiesty gal.


Paulina Garcia is a vibrant life force -- you root for her, you find common ground with her. Gloria is a passionate woman not ready to sit on the sidelines, and Garcia embraces.

What Works

Director Sebastian Lelio, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Gonzalo Maza, has fashioned an engaging, true-to-life, honest depiction of romance in the golden years. It's charming, funny and hits very close to home for women of a certain age. The female empowerment plot can recharge the batteries as ladies peer into the crystal ball of their future. Gloria seeks new adventures, and what's not to love about a character willing to re-invent herself in her 50s?

Rodolfo and Gloria aren't spared the woes of aging. These are not Abercrombie and Fitch models. They have the real bodies of people their age. That fact alone should people stand up and shout in the movie theater.

What Doesn't Work

You might have a different opinion when the movie starts of Gloria, but that soon gives way to the adorable live wire who is so vibrant on screen. The director presents a fully realized woman, mistakes and all, and doesn't judge.

"Gloria" is one big smile -- a refreshing tonic in the midst of a chilly winter. I do not know why it failed to make the cut for the Oscars' Best Foreign Film nominations this year, but it deserves to be seen by a wider audience.

Go, girls! And guys!

4 stars

Director: Sebastian Lelio

Starring: Paulina Garcia, Sergio Hernandez

Length: 1:50

Rated: R for sexual content, some graphic nudity, drug use and language

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