Director Sebastian Lelio’s “Gloria Bell,” despite solid performances by Julianne Moore and John Turturro, fails, in this lukewarm remake, to recreate the bounce, hope and zest that was in Lelio’s original 2013 film “Gloria” that starred Paulina Garcia.

“Gloria Bell” is about today’s Gloria and the other Glorias dancing around her under the strobe lights hoping, at least, to catch a moment or two of fun.

Like Gloria, they are middle-aged, divorced women who find themselves beached on the Technicolored millennium spattered landscape of Los Angeles. 

In a way, it’s a #MeToo film, a revenge tale, because all the men in the film, the great John Turturro, Michael Cera, Gloria’s ex-husband Brad Garrett, are portrayed as emotionally emasculated victims or simply vacuous onlookers.

The women, on the other hand, our star Julianne Moore as Gloria, Holland Taylor as her supportive mother, and best friend Rita Wilson are bright, engaged, hard working women trying to stay relevant in an Instagram and Snapchat society. 

Gloria is an insurance adjuster. We know she is because she never ever takes her big, clunky glasses off. To be sure, she is fit of form and still a looker in her tailored suits.

Gloria is moving slowly into late 50s with a comforting mother and a daughter Anne, a soul-searching yoga instructor (Caren Pistorius) who’s comforting advice she needs, but won’t get because Anne is going to marry a surfer and move to Sweden so he can catch some big waves. 

So Gloria, tiring of rattling around in her nice, empty apartment night after night, takes her still svelte self and her oversized horn rim glasses to local singles dance bars and dances the night away under the blue-green strobe lights. Talk about looking for love in all the wrong places.

But it’s here that things begin looking up when her eyes meet those of Arnold, a one-year divorcee played by the great John Turturro. They dance in slow, jerky movements and wind up at the bar sipping martinis. 

Okay, aging boy meets aging girl and a romance develops. There are a few bed scenes with lots of Moore flesh showing and Turturro losing his breath in the hot moments.

Then the phone rings and rings and rings through many of their dates and clinches. It seems that Arnold, despite the divorce, can’t free himself of his wife and seriously needy two daughters whom he still supports.

Hopeful of a relationship, Gloria takes him to a family party that includes her ex-husband and his wife and kids, all stuck in a tiny dining room. In the middle of dessert Arnold freezes and leaves.

Even when they’re vacationing at Caesar’s Palace, his daughters and ex-wife call. So disturbed by this, Moore gives us the first and only big laugh when she takes his iPhone and drops it in his soup. After this, he excuses himself to go to the men’s room, and goes home to Los Angeles without so much as a wave. 

By now, you’ve probably said, “WHAT?” a dozen times just as I did.

The film, when all is said and done, and despite its high-quality production and talented players, is a melancholy matinee movie.

Sadly, Moore and Turturro are two actors I simply adore, and they are the best at what they do. I’ve seen them both in fabulous films, but this wasn’t one of them. I would have to say it’s worth your time if only to watch Moore and Turturro work.

 

J.P. Devine, of Waterville, is a former stage and screen actor.


Comments are not available on this story.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.