There is a sadness to all the disco bumping and grinding in Gloria Bell, a remake of the director’s Sebastian Lelio’s 2013 Spanish original Gloria. These are middle age divorced quasi boomers looking for love, but unsure how to negotiate the first awkward steps that lead to the bedroom. There life is a series of neglects and failures— from their children, their jobs, their friends.
With Julianne Moore as its main star there is an expectations of female empowerment attached to the story line. Lelia takes Moore right up to the line of declaring it but never allows Moore to take the hurdle. She remains aware of her victimization, the broken cycle, but is left without any direction how to change it, just her dancing to the 1982 song that refers to her and spells it all out unequivocally.
Lelio is clearly uninterested and at loss on how to update his earlier picture for American audiences. He just lets Moore bounce around, sometimes being real but mostly pathetic. He needs to go back to the language and the sad people he knows how to portray best.
Until then his American cinema experience would just be. awkward mistranslations.
All photos courtesy of A24 Pictures.