I’m a huge Julianne Moore fan; she never disappoints. I’ve seen her do a big variety of different roles and I’m always mesmerized by her performance. Here, with Gloria Bell, she’s the star and the entire film focuses on her character’s arc. From the trailers, I thought this was going to be a love story of some kind, kind of a finding love after 50 type of thing. This not defiantly not that though, it’s something very different, something I think is far more interesting. I’m glad this film took the route it did, instead of being a standard love story.
Moore stars as Gloria Bell, a divorced middle aged woman who goes to a popular nightclub to dance every now and then. She ends up meeting a recently divorced man (John Turturro) who takes an interest in her and they hit it off. The film focuses on both her as a character and going through things like having to let go of her children and this new relationship she enters into. Like I mentioned, I adore Moore as an actress, she really dives deep into each and every one of her characters. This character is no exception, she translates everything we as the audience need to feel. I love the way she portrays Gloria and how she shows the shift in her behavior and outlook. It’s so perfect because the writing is great and there’s a talented actress to bring that writing to life. There’s a good number of good supporting actors here, and that’s literally what they’re purpose is, to support Gloria Bell as a character. They all do a good job of serving they’re necessary purpose, especially John Turturro. Rita Wilson and Holland Taylor.
The story is one of empowerment in general and female empowerment in particular. It’s not some preachy feminist story. Instead, the empowerment comes through in a really beautiful and natural way. You come away feeling refreshed and renewed. And that is a great feeling for a film to leave you with, especially when it’s about character over a certain age.
The events that occur throughout are very well put together. They really invest you and make you care about this beautiful character in Gloria Bell. The chemistry between her and Turturro is very believable. It makes things that end up happening even more effective in nature. The relationship that ends up blossoming with them is a big factor in her growth and arc, so it’s crucial that they make it convincing. The chemistry between Gloria and her mother and her friends is also nice, they support her throughout and it’s all very endearing.
A24 has yet another big win with Gloria Bell. They’ve been on a role with smaller scale thriller/horror films like Hereditary and It Comes at Night. I’m happy to see this by them because it proves they can excel at other genres of film. If this is playing near you, I strongly urge you to go see it, it’s quite an experience. Gloria Bell is best described as an exercise in empowerment, and lord knows we all need a dose of that these days.