Gloria, directed by Sebastian Lelio, is a Chilean film set primarily in Santiago. It tells the story of Gloria (Paulina Garcia), a woman in her late fifties whose life has become overwhelmingly boring. She is divorced, her son lives nearby but is busy and her daughter is flying off to Sweden to live with her boyfriend. So Gloria hits the night clubs looking for some action (specifically, looking for some male companionship). Eventually she meets Rodolfo (Sergio Hernandez), an older man who falls in love with Gloria but is regularly shocked by her treatment of him, causing him to disappear, something Gloria cannot tolerate.
Gloria is a very well-made film, with brilliant performances by the lead actors, many wonderful scenes and an intelligent and thoughtful depiction of life after 55. I can understand why the critics like it so much. Unfortunately, the ‘story’ just doesn’t work for me. I can only suppose that viewers are supposed to be frustrated with Gloria’s flawed character, but film critics seem to see Gloria as a celebration of Gloria’s journey toward liberation. If that’s what Lelio was going for (and I assume it is), then I didn’t get it. I enjoyed the ending, but to me the scenes that led up to it do not support the ending that follows.
Gloria gets ***. It’s worth watching, but not, in my opinion, the great film the critics watched.