Sebastián Lelio’s film “Gloria Bell” is a self-indulgent movie that drags on far too long for its own good.
The movie tells the story of its titular character, a middle-aged divorced grandmother trying to navigate life’s struggles. The film has its merits, showing in fascinating detail the day-to-day life of an average woman who doesn’t have all the answers. There were a few beautiful moments that simultaneously showcased the magnificence and the frustration of family life.
Julianne Moore, who plays Gloria, is utterly convincing not only in her determination as she pushes through the airport’s crowds, but also as she sobs after seeing her daughter walk away to start her new life.
However, while the film does have some touching moments, they are not enough to sustain a movie which gets too wrapped up in its own main character. The main point of the first part of the film seemed to be that Gloria wasn’t a hero or even a protagonist but just a woman who hadn’t figured her life out. However, I was surprised when she was presented in later parts of the movie as a woman incapable of doing wrong. The movie doesn’t really have a plot in the traditional sense, so I won’t worry about spoiling it.
There is one point in the second half of the movie when Gloria, after being annoyed that her boyfriend’s phone won’t stop ringing, dumps the phone into a bowl of soup, ruining it. She then laughs loudly and repeatedly while her boyfriend, played by John Turturro, tries in vain to clean it off.
I expected this scene to be a lesson for Gloria; something she would look back on later in the movie and regret. I was disappointed when it was instead presented as the act of an independent woman standing up for herself. The story got so wrapped up in its character that it had her do some pretty horrible things and present them as things to be proud of.
The acting was good, although I felt the film relied a little too heavily on Moore. She had the most screen time, with many scenes of just her alone. While she did a great job with some of them, I got the impression she wasn’t up to carry an entire movie almost all by herself.
“Gloria Bell” tells the story of an average woman. She’s not a superhero; she’s not a villain; she’s just herself. And while there are certainly ways to tell the stories of normal people, (just see “Private Life” or “Dazed and Confused” for proof) this film lost sight of its own premise halfway through.
I didn’t really enjoy “Gloria Bell.” It has its moments, but I wouldn’t say the good parts make the bad parts worth it. It’s not a terrible film, but it’s not something I would recommend watching.
Keagan Miller is a psychology junior and columnist for The Battalion.