Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Sep 14th
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

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past

 

A Different Revolution

Aries Moon late Wednesday and Thursday. We think new thoughts and initiate new ideas. Sun in Virgo with Saturn in Scorpio help disciples to create orderly structures to anchor and bring forth new ideas. Stabilizing Taurus moon Friday and Saturday. We anchor new ideas into form and matter, like seeds planted in the soil. We tend them, waiting for green shoots to emerge. Like the gestating Virgo Sun Madonna, awaiting the birth of the holy child, the Soul, the new light at winter solstice. Mercury and Chiron converse about what hurts and what heals.Saturday is a complex day with Mercury (communication), Mars (action!) and Uranus (revolution). Mercury in Libra is opposite Uranus in Aries. Oppositions (recognizing something new appearing over there somewhere) eventually synthesize. Mercury in Libra calls for Right Action and Right Relations, especially with money. Uranus in Aries—the revolution this time must be different.  Also on Saturday, Mars enters Sagittarius. Where are we going, what are our goals, where’s justice, where’s the mountain, do we have good shoes? Sunday Venus trines Pluto—in-depth assessment of money, values and resources. Gemini moon Monday; we talk a lot, tending to tasks in gardens and neighborhoods. Cancer Moon Tuesday and Wednesday; we nurture and nourish. The stars and planets remind us.Note: William Meader, esoteric author & international teacher, will be speaking on “The Soul of Humanity Evolving Through Crisis” at Meditation Mount, 7pm, Friday, Sept. 12.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 12

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

 

Wood Fire Woodie

Scotts Valley pizzeria gets fired up the old-school way

 

What's your all-time best Skyview Flea Market score?

Santa Cruz | eBay Business

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Soquel’s Pinot Winner

When you taste Soquel Vineyards’ extraordinary 2012 Partners’ Reserve Pinot Noir, you will know why it won a Double Gold in June at the 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition.