Gloria (Roadside Attractions)
Rated R for sexual content, some graphic nudity, drug use and language.
Starring Paulina García, Sergio Hernández, Diego Fontecilla, Fabiola Zamora, Luz Jiménez, Alejandro Goic, Liliana García, Coca Guazzini, Hugo Moraga, Cristián Carvajal, Eyal Meyer, Tito Bustamante, Antonia Santa María.
Written by Sebastián Lelio and Gonzalo Maza.
Directed by Sebastián Lelio.
Getting old never seems like much fun, especially in the movies. “Coming of age” films are usually all about how a teen triumphs over social awkwardness, hormones and the search for love – but when “coming of age” means facing your old age (while dealing with social awkwardness, hormones and the search for love), it usually isn’t as entertaining – or at the very least pleasant to look at. The Chilean film Gloria is about the latter kind of age, and it’s a movie that might not resonate with many audiences.
Paulina Garcia stars as Gloria, a divorced mother of two adults who spends most of her evenings trolling senior singles clubs in Santiago. During one night of dancing, she hooks up with Rodolfo (Sergio Hernandez), a widowed former navy officer who owns a small amusement park. Rodolfo also takes care of his needy adult daughters. As their affair blossoms, Gloria thinks she may have found her soul mate.
During a family dinner, Rodolfo gets a phone call and disappears to take care of his daughters, embarrassing Gloria. She eventually takes him back and goes on a romantic vacation with him, but he again abandons Gloria in the middle of dinner. After a night binging on the resort town, Gloria returns home with revenge on her mind, and a resolve to survive the golden years.
Gloria is painful to watch if you’re getting over the hill, as the movie shows the darkness and desperation one can encounter in the senior years, not to mention the risks of taking on a new lover with his/her own decades of emotional baggage. Paulina Garcia plays the part very well and allows her inner beauty to shine, even if it all seems hopeless.
As she sings along to Laura Brannigan’s titular “Gloria,” I suppose you’re prompted to feel like the life of an older single adult still has a little party left, but it’s all a big performance without much more than a catchy tune for accompaniment.
Gloria is rated R and includes several scenes of nudity and sexuality (all involving seniors), so if geriatric sex makes you squeamish, you want to pass.