I knew that I wanted to see Gloria when I first saw its preview a few months back. The two-minute clip didn’t give away much—there was a quirky-looking middle-aged woman in thick-rimmed glasses laughing by herself a lot and some empowering Spanish music. The film was attractive because it looked like both a feel-good indie film and a likely projection of someone I could relate to in thirty years. Now that I’ve seen it, I can’t say the protagonist and I are quite the same. Gloria is way, way cooler.
Gloria delves into the life of your typical divorcée who has lost herself and her sense of purpose in the rubble of family, friends, and daily life at work. Though she fits the mold of millions of characters we’ve already met, there’s something whimsical setting Gloria apart. Directed by Sebastian Lelio and starring Paulina Garcia, Gloria was shot and takes place in Chile. The movie is acted in Spanish and paired with subtitles, yet felt just as relatable as your go-to rom-com about old folks smoking weed and falling in love (It’s Complicated, The Notebook, etc.).
The best thing about Gloria isn’t even the inherent need to cheer alongside her as she kicks ass in all that she does. Rather, it’s the small details so cleverly snuck in. For example: in the first few minutes of the film, Gloria returns home to find an ugly cat in her foyer that belongs to a neighbor. No matter how many times she shoos the cat away, it constantly finds a home in Gloria’s bachelorette/hip grandma pad throughout the film, teasing her spinster way of life. Gloria will have great sex but will return home to find the cat; she goes bungee jumping and then finds the cat. As we follow Gloria through a romance more youthful than some I’ve experienced, undertones of aging linger constantly. The film, therefore, becomes whatever you want it to be. A moderate chick-flick for the intelligent woman; a clever love story for the avant-garde guy.
Compared to a college kid, Gloria kills it. She goes out clubbing by herself and downs drinks with ease. She scores the hottest 60-something guy at the bar (who we later find out underwent a super-successful gastric bypass surgery) and makes passionate love to him that night. She’s a better dancer than at least 75% of the people I’ve ever seen at Ultra, and by the end of her story, she has more confidence in her oldish age than we do in our prime. She is, without a doubt, a woman with swagger.
There’s something that I do want to address regarding the very, very nude sex scenes: I wouldn’t quite call myself an adult sex scene connoisseur, but I have a soft spot for movies about adults falling back into love. 50-something on 50-something isn’t something totally unfamiliar to me. However, the chemistry and fluidity (or, perhaps, lack thereof) between Gloria (Garcia) and her love interest, Rodrigo (Sergio Hernandez) was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. I wasn’t sure if their age made them worse at sex scenes, or if they were actually really good at sex scenes and this is just what sex at a certain age truly looks like. After reading a couple of other reviews, it looks like the latter was correct: unglamorous sex at a certain (or any) age is real, which probably made the movie all the better.
Gloria is playing at the Avon at 1:45 p.m., 4 p.m., 6:20 p.m., and 8:35 p.m. until Friday. Go see it; you’ll leave feeling like you just made a new best friend.