29 March 2014


I was jokingly calling this How Gloria Got Her Groove Back, and it must be acknowledged that the reference is not entirely unwarranted, but fortunately, it's a much more understated and interesting film. An episode in the life of Gloria, a middle aged woman who is not desperately trying to balance love and career, or find someone to love her, or bemoaning old age. Instead, she's a fairly successful (it seems) divorcé who likes to go out dancing and have a good time; whose children have problems of their own which concern but do not consume her; and who is open to the idea of a relationship or maybe just a one night stand. There are not many movies made about women like this. It is so, so refreshing to see a film about a woman who is neither frigid nor desperate, despite being single. And a film about people in their 50s that isn't pitying or condescending to them. The movie is confident enough in the depth of her character that it can include the types of details that would often serve as cliché in films about older single women; her singing along to romantic pop ballads on the radio, or being scared of a strange noise at night. Plot-wise, Gloria is mostly a typical romantic drama, but with an atypical cast: girl meets boy, complications ensue. But it feels wonderfully true-to-life.

It must be admitted, however, that the film does drag a bit. It's on the long side, and there isn't a whole lot going on. I got a little bored during the first 40 minutes, but then I got into it and I started liking Gloria more and more, and appreciating the atypical realism of the plot. It's perhaps worth noting that I think there is probably a really interesting political subtext to the film -- there are various references to the situation in Chile that mostly went over my head, but would probably be quite meaningful to a more informed observer. Anyways, despite our many differences, I felt like I could identify with Gloria. Though some scenes were cringe-worthy, and others were sad, nothing was totally awful or devastating. I am increasingly finding myself drawn to these works of minor tragedy (something I also really liked about the Barbara Pym novel that I read recently). Sometimes bad things happen, and we're sad, and then life goes on.

Definitely a movie worth watching.

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