No segue. Didn’t even know about this movie until I looked up earlier in the week. Never got a trailer for it or anything.
The story looks like it’s about an older, single woman who lives a pretty carefree life and then finds romance again.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Julianne Moore (KINGSMAN 2 , HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY 2 , and upcoming films THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW  and AFTER THE WEDDING ) and John Turturro (TRANSFORMERS 5 , HANDS OF STONE , RIDICULOUS 6 , and the upcoming GOING PLACES ).
In support, we have Michael Cera (MOLLY’S GAME  and SAUSAGE PARTY ), Brad Garrett (RALPH/INTERNET , TMNT 2 , and TANGLED ), Sean Astin (the Lord of the Rings movies and Season 2 of STRANGER THINGS [2016 – ongoing]), Rita Wilson (GREEK WEDDING 2 ), and Caren Pistorius (MORTAL ENGINES , DENIAL , and the upcoming HIGH GROUND ).
Now for the crew. Directing and co-writing is Sebastián Lelio, known for DISOBEDIENCE (2018) and FANTASTIC WOMAN (2017). Lelio’s partner-in-pen is Alice Johnson, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of. Composing the score is Matthew Herbert, known for DISOBEDIENCE and FANTASTIC WOMAN. The cinematographer is Natasha Braier, known for NEON DEMON (2016). Finally, the editor is Soledad Salfate, known for FANTASTIC WOMAN.
Overall, I wish I’d seen the original by the filmmaker, but this sprang up on me out of nowhere, so I missed out. But I’m down for anything with Moore and Turturro when he’s not doing comedy. I’m sure I’ll like this just fine.
This is my honest opinion of: GLORIA BELL
Gloria Bell (Julianne Moore) has been divorced for twelve years from her ex-husband Dustin (Brad Garrett), but mostly enjoys the single life. She goes out drinking, dancing, starts taking up yoga, flirts with men, but is always keeping her options open for something a little more meaningful. One night at a club, she meets Arnold (John Tuturro), who proves to be charming and funny, but seems to be pretty attached to an overbearing pair of daughters, and an ex-wife of his own.
Man, spent too much time trying to think about CAPTAIN MARVEL that I end up pushing out my memories of this movie. Man… okay, bum reaction is… good. Not great, but good.
Let’s see, Gloria likes to dance… she dances with guys… has a son and daughter, the son has an infant kid of his own, making her a grandmother… I remember the repeated line of, “By the way, it’s Mom” when she leaves voice messages for her kids was pretty funny. My mom does the exact same thing. “Yeah, woman, I know what your voice sounds like over the phone.” We’ve all been there, am I right? And… sadly, will probably do the exact same thing when we get get to that age with our own kids.
I do now remember a certain level honesty from Gloria when she meets Arnold at her favorite club where she admits that she’s sometimes happy and sometimes not. I know that doesn’t sound like a very interesting line, but keep in mind that I’m pretty sure I’m paraphrasing, and the delivery of the line felt really genuine. Not overly emo, but not tonally inappropriate, just two people connecting and being honest with one another.
Oh, I remember this plot point going nowhere! Gloria’s landlord’s son lives right above her and is frequently loud and obnoxious. I have no idea what the deal was with that. I would believe that it serves only to set up the tone of Gloria’s lifestyle, that this was almost representative of how frustrated she really is as a single woman without a steady focus, like love. A bit melodramatic and artsy-fartsy, I admit, but at the end of the day, it would have served some kind of purpose. If I recall correctly, this loud tenant is only featured twice, an intro scene, and when Gloria calls her landlord about the ruckus he’s creating. That’s it. No final confrontation with the tenant to get peace and quiet, or any follow up from the landlord about whether or not she did anything. It’s just a random detail to pad out the runtime.
Alright, let’s get to the big one. The big kahuna himself, John Turturro as Arnold. Honestly, as previously stated, I think the man is at his best when he isn’t doing comedy. Personal opinion, of course. Here is no exception. He feels like he’s actually trying and pumping out a three-dimensional character. However, Arnold is written pretty terribly. Not that he doesn’t have charm, and it’s easy to see why the two hit it off as well as they do. If the worst thing I could complain about him was calling Gloria at the wee hours of the morning to ask her out, I’d say he’d be… well, kind of a nuisance, but at least a well-meaning one. And at first, I was more or less on board with his character. He accompanies Gloria to her son’s birthday party, where Dustin is, and it’s apparent that they still have a connection. Not a romantic one, but when they talk and start reminiscing about the past, their children’s childhoods, it’s clear that Arnold is relegated to “third-wheel status,” if you catch my meaning. He feels left out, and it’s easy to see why. Now, one could argue that he should just shut his trap and enjoy the stories being told and get a glimpse of the life that she had before him, but I admit that I would feel out of place too in that situation. Even when he up and leaves, I don’t quite disagree. I disagree with his lack of trying to lie his way out of it, like saying, “Oh, there’s an emergency with my daughter,” or something, or privately tell Gloria that he doesn’t feel included and would simply rather leave. Instead, he leaves Gloria with no ride back home. That’s pretty lame.
However, things take a drastic nose-dive for Arnold from here on out. He basically ghosts her for a good long time, she tries to move on, but then shows up at her work and does this psycho, “You would have done the same thing if you were me!” while also spouting, “Gloria, I love you!” all in a single scene. It’s a really unattractive quality. Oh, but I’m sure you’re thinking that he does something thoughtful and romantic to win her back. Well, I’m pleased to report that he does. He calls her. Nonstop. Every five… mother… f***ing minutes, like a mother f***ing creeper! Holy shit, why hadn’t Gloria deleted his number and blocked him?! How, why, there is zero excuse for how this can happen in this day and age! Yes, yes, there are always other methods, I know. But she should have let things escalate to the point of harassment, and then call the cops, and force him to leave her alone. Usually, creepers like that get the message when you block their numbers. Steps. That’s how you take things. But wait, dare I say that there’s more?! Yes! I say that there’s more with Arnold! And things get SO much worse, but I’ll save that for the spoilers.
I’m not entirely sure what this movie was supposed to be. If I were to hazard a guess, it’s supposed to be life-affirming for middle-aged single women, to celebrate that they don’t need romance in their lives in order to find happiness and to find contentment within themselves. Very ISN’T THIS ROMANTIC of this movie. It’s also probably trying to say to be comfortable with their sexuality because this movie finds all sorts of reasons to show off Moore’s tits. As a dude, I can’t say that I’m complaining, but as a wannabe artist, I feel like half the time it was just to show off how nice they were, rather than have a thematic purpose. I mean, they’re out when Gloria and Arnold are just small-talking in bed. So riveting. In any case, I would accept this more if Gloria was in a more relatable situation. Not that women don’t get harassed, of course they sadly do, but this doesn’t feel like it should be that kind of movie. For as simple as the premise is, it takes to some seriously stalker levels that I feel like don’t have anything to do with the themes of the flick. Maybe the true purpose of the flick is just way over my head, but I can only report on what I took away from the movie, not what was intended.
Swinging back around to the subject of Arnold. There’s a point in this movie where basically nothing makes any more sense. So Gloria’s daughter has moved to Sweden with her boyfriend and finds herself, I guess, in a state of depression and finally decides to answer one of Arnold’s bajillion calls. On the surface, I would… probably understand why she answered, out of some desperate bid for companionship and familiarity, and that’s a BIG freakin’ “probably,” literally the next shot after answering that phone is her on a plane flying to Las Vegas… with him. And they’re both all smiles and happiness. Um… excuse you, movie?! What the hell did he say that got the two of them back together?! It’s such a fast edit that there’s no telling how much time passed between that phone call and this flight! But… if you can possibly wrap your mind around it, things get worse. Weird enough that things are all hunky-dory while they’re in Vegas, outside of Arnold trying to ignore his overbearing and overly-attached daughters, but Gloria gets the idea of flying out to Europe, just the two of them. At first, Arnold seems pretty chill with the idea, gets up to use the potty, and then LEAVES HER AT THE TABLE TO GO HOME!!! WHAT?!?!?!? Oh, don’t worry, she gets complete hammered and has to call her mom to pick her up. But he tries calling her to tell her that he’s sorry! Yup, he’s doing that again! But she gets her revenge by taking his paintball gun that he left with her and shoots out a couple of windows at his house and him with paintballs, and that’s the last we see of him.
Overall, I can’t say that I disliked this movie. It’s hard for me to dislike anything with Julianne Moore. I mean… come on, she’s Julianne Moore. She’s incredible. She’s one of my favorite actresses and a long-running celebrity crush for me. But in any case, she does carry this film like a champ, never making me bored, and has some deeply satisfying moments. But as a story about this woman, Gloria, I can’t say that I’m a huge fan. It’s forgettable, and that’s a crying shame because I think there’s something empowering that really wants to burst out, but never quite gets to that place. As a recommendation, if you’re a fan of Moore, I might say it’s worth a rental. If you’re not a fan, you are not only not invited to my Laser-Tag birthday party and we can no longer be friends, but I might say you’re not missing much with this movie.
My honest rating for GLORIA BELL: 3/5
This week’s reviews:
Next week’s reviews:
- THE AFTERMATH
- THE MUSTANG
- CAPTIVE STATE
- FIVE FEET APART
- WONDER PARK
- THE HUMMINGBIRD PROJECT
- NANCY DREW AND THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE
- NO MANCHES FRIDA 2: PARAÍSO DESTRUIDO
- PLAIRE, AIMER ET COURIR VITE / SORRY ANGEL
- FAITH, HOPE & LOVE