Marlys Klossner, Contributor Ω
Gloria is a snapshot in the life of the title character, an adventurous, fiery woman who feels isolated romantically and by her children. After being divorced for over a decade, and having a string of meaningless short-term relationships, Gloria meets recently divorced Rodolfo.
The two have an instant connection in a club which leads to a tumultuous relationship.
The comedy/drama is directed by Chilean Sebastián Lelio and stars Paulina García as Gloria and Sergio Hernández as Rodolfo. García’s performance is riveting and sincere, suiting the role of the main character. She shines brighter as the film progresses, in tandem with her character.
Although Gloria and Rodolfo are the central characters, the relationships of the people in their lives are just as interesting. Gloria’s ex-husband fails to connect with his daughter, while Gloria’s son is raising a child on his own. Rodolfo’s children and ex-wife are financially dependent on Rodolfo, stifling him with their neediness. The variety of relationship issues ensures that every audience member can connect personally if Gloria’s life isn’t relatable.
Gloria has some graphic sex scenes which, while not exactly pleasant to watch, are tender and passionate. People over 40 are rarely shown in a sensual manner, so these scenes contribute to the honest quality of the film.
Gloria was filmed mostly in Santiago, Chile, but we don’t get to see much of the city’s views and landscapes. This seems like a missed opportunity, but the small amount we do see does make the film more internationally relatable.
Political issues in Chile appear briefly in the background, but hold no bearing on the plot. This turmoil is barely acknowledged by Gloria and seems unnecessary to the telling of Gloria’s story.
Funny and poignant, Gloria is a touching portrayal of a woman’s yearning for connection. The film is a case study in love, independence, strength and weakness. By the end of the film Gloria has realized her own power, and leaves the viewer satisfied and optimistic.