Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Jul 05th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The Visible Woman

film gloriaLove over 50 explored in lively 'Gloria'

Here's something you don't see in the movies every day: a mature (as in over 50) adult woman with a functioning sex life at the center of a film. If you took a wild guess that this is not a Hollywood production, right you are. This marvel occurs in Gloria, a Chilean film about a woman of a certain age determined not to fade away just because she's divorced and her kids are grown. Chile's official entry into the 2014 Academy Awards Foreign Language category, Gloria is powered by a dynamic performance from its star, Paulina Garcia, as a woman who refuses to give up on life.Garcia won the Silver Bear Best Actress award at the Berlin Film Festival for this role, and it's easy to see why. She plays the title character with a mix of cheerful intelligence and asperity, an innate wisdom still tempered with hope. Her quirky, expressive mouth and cool appraising eyes always give the audience something lively to look at onscreen. Director Sebastian Lelio trusts Garcia to provide his film with its life force, and she does not disappoint. As Gloria searches for ways to spice up her days and nights, we empathize with her quest for love, dignity, and respect.

Divorced for several years, Gloria (Garcia) works in an office in downtown Santiago and lives alone. Her two adult children are fond of her, but they have busy lives of their own; she spends a lot of time leaving messages on their phones. A romantic at heart, Gloria likes to sing along to emotional ballads of heartbreak and devotion while driving her car, and most nights, she dons her party dress and dancing shoes and goes to a singles club to dance to disco and salsa music. She loves to dance.

On one such evening, her vivacity attracts the notice of an older gentleman, Rodolfo (Sergio Hernandez) who can't seem to take his eyes off of her. He finally musters the nerve to approach her ("Are you always this happy?" he asks her), they spend the evening chatting and dancing, and they wind up in bed at Gloria's apartment. It's kind of an amazing scene (and not the last in this film) in that it shows real post-midlife people having sex. Director Lelio's camera angles and lighting are discreet, but he wants us to realize that people still have physical selves and all the needs that come with them, even after they are no longer young and beautiful.

Gloria has emotional needs as well. And while she's too experienced to let herself get all dewy-eyed, she is pleased when—after a few more uncertain days—timid Rodolfo asks her out on a date and seems eager to begin a relationship. But, like most humans, Rodolfo comes with baggage. Divorced for only a year, he won't tell his needy ex and their two grown daughters that he's seeing another woman. (So as not to give them an opportunity to call him a "silly old man," he tells Gloria.) At a family birthday party for Gloria's son, they learn that Rodolfo is also supporting his unemployed daughters and their codependent mother.

Gloria's determination to make the best of every situation powers the film, but she's no Pollyanna. As it becomes ever more clear that she will always come second in Rodolfo's life, her steeliness is just as invigorating. Of course, she wavers, as in one deft scene where, wandering through a shopping mall, she watches an absurdly dancing skeleton marionette—a chilling reminder of the relentless passage of time.           

The movie pulses with Latin music, including a lovely bossa nova tune sung by Gloria's daughter, accompanied on guitar by her Sociology professor friend. This prof also observes that "The old Chile is dead," and what's been rebuilt is just "a replica" based on greed, while a "virtual multitude" of people crave personal connection, even if it's only on Facebook or Twitter. (Which are evidently called "Facebook" and "Twitter" even in Spanish.) Connection is the theme of this film, and even though Gloria's quest leads her down some rocky roads, her resolve in standing up for herself—despite what  obstacles Life throws in her path—keeps the viewer rooting for her. 


GLORIA ★ ★ ★ (out of four) With Paulina Garcia and Sergio Hernandez. Written by Sebastian Lelio and Gonzalo Maza. Directed by Sebastian Lelio. A Roadside Attractions release. Rated R. 110 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Boards Are Back in Town

More than a century after a famed trio of Hawaiian princes first surfed in Santa Cruz, their redwood olo surfboards are returning to the Museum of Art & History

 

We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident

Saturday, July 4, is the 239th birthday of the United States, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence (the U.S. astrology chart has Aquarius moon—freedom for its people, by its people). Cancer, a liberating and initiating sign, is the “gate” where Spirit enters matter. Cancer receives and distributes Ray 3 (Divine Intelligence) and Ray 7 (new rules, new rhythms, new free nation under God). Cancer represents an intelligent freethinking humanity that can and must create right economics for the world. This means a policy of sharing, an opportunity for the U.S. when Venus (money, resources, possessions, etc.) retrogrades July and August in Leo (the heart of the matter). The United States has a unique spiritual task for the world: to lead humanity within and toward the light, accomplished by its people who must first awaken to this task, learn discrimination and be directed by the soul to assume the Herculean task of spiritual world leadership. Let us review the first words of our Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.” Let us form that union together. The following is a review of the spiritual tasks for each sign. Read all the signs. They all apply to everyone.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 3

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Lunch is Packed

Picnic basket lunches from Your Place, plus smoked chili peppers, and new owners at Camellia Tea House

 

What would you like the Supreme Court to rule on next?

Raising the minimum wage so that those that are in poverty now can have a higher standard of life. Greanna Smith, Soquel, Nanny

 

Bruzzone Family Vineyards

Bruzzone Family Vineyards is a small operation run by Berna and John Bruzzone. Starting out a few years ago making only Chardonnay, they eventually planted Pinot Noir on their extensive property and now make this varietal as well.

 

Ty’s Eatery

Pop-up hooks up with Santa Cruz Food Lounge for healthy comfort food