Instantly recognizable, is a woman, searching for an anchor, a “place in the sun”, with pulsating vulnerability, candid openness, she maneuvers the dance floor of a familiar night club; dancing flays the ordinariness of her life: unattached children, valueless job, psychotic neighbor; she possesses the capacity for incalculable love, but no one worthy of its measures; a divorcee, neither gay nor gloomy; Julianne Moore is incandescent as “Gloria Bell”.
On one of her marvelous movement evenings, she connects with another lonely, misfit “Arnold” (John Turturro, perfectly seasoned); divorced for a year but still painfully, physically, psychologically tethered to his ex-wife and daughters; he’s had gastric bypass surgery, the loss of girth should have led to minimalizing his responsibilities as a father to adult children, but only exacerbates his parental role; causing a conflicted relationship with Gloria and her mostly mundane, pleasantly normal family.
Chilean director Sebastian Lelio recreates 2013’s “Gloria” (Paulina Garcia); setting switch from Santiago to Los Angeles; unfortunately redundancy dilutes the potency of the storyline and “Gloria Bell”, despite notable performances loses its effervescence in Las Vegas.
Found myself counting the seconds, lustily anticipating the feverish dance and song, sung by Laura Branigan; “Gloria’s” lyrics speak to a person on the verge of drowning, viability evaporating, lost in phony anticipation; stop listening to “all the voices in your head” castrate catastrophe, grab life by the fistfuls and live, gloriously!
TWO & 1/2 STARS!!