Gloria Bell

The Myrna Loy


Grade: B+

Look at all the lonely people. Where do they all come from?

Well, Paul, I’m not sure. And, as to your next question: Neither do I know where they all belong.

Meet Gloria Bell, a 50-something divorced mother of two. She loves to dance, but is having trouble finding partners on the dance floor and in life.

Standing at the crossroads where roads diverge, Gloria’s first response is to set out on the road most traveled by – to find a man and partner up, again. Second time’s a charm, right?

She spends time in a bar made for dancing, one where you might find Travolta tossing off his white coat as he slides onto the floor.

Gloria gets her wish. A man catches her eye, and asks her to dance – on the floor and again later.

But love on the rebound is fraught with risk. In Garth Brooks lingo, sometimes we should thank God for unanswered prayers.

When you’re lonely, giving up on a relationship, even a frustrating one, is hard – because that means returning to loneliness again. So, Eleanor Rigby hangs on too long.

During this period of existential pondering, seeds begin to form in Gloria about the road not taken – the less traveled one.

What if, instead of seeking a partner to end loneliness, she learned to love herself. Or, in more poetic terms, what if she leaned into loneliness instead of running from it? Might that Buddhist notion of embracing suffering and grief lead to calm waters?

Perhaps, once she’s at peace with herself, she’ll find love – not because she needs it, but because her independence will make her more attractive to equally strong men. Desperation attracts the desperate.

“Gloria Bell” is director Sebastian Lelio’s English remake of his 2013 Chilean film, “Gloria.” Julianne Moore reaches inside for an internal portrait of a middle-aged woman seeking connection.

Overall, I fell more in love with the original than with this remake, though. Not sure why, exactly. Perhaps that independent foreign film felt less Hollywood.

But when this film ended with Gloria Bell on the dance floor singing along with Laura Branigan’s anthem “Gloria” I cried, just like I did at the end of the original film.

The celebration of a woman dancing alone, without longing, is an inspiring message in an age of relationship hookups and marriage mess ups.

“Gloria Bell” is that rare movie romance for grownups, free from the phony formulas that drive most rom coms. It’s a joy to be friends with Gloria for a couple hours, and root for her.

Ladies, don’t need to wait for the prince to come to carry them away. They can rise when they wish, spend the day alone if they wish or, if the spirit moves them, call a friend.

Alone is not necessarily lonely.

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