Cinematic Releases: Gloria Bell (2018) - Reviewed

There's a sizable gap between Gen X-ers and Millennials that often leads to culture and idealistic clashes that I'm almost certain no other two generations have experienced to this kind of magnitude. We move at a far different pace than last generations did, the housing market hasn't been entirely in our favor, people are slower to move out of their parents' houses for personal independence. We are a generation dependent on the last one, and if every other Buzzfeed article didn't already tell you this, we're probably doomed unless Gen Z comes around to our rescue. Technology advanced so far ahead this last generation that it widened that rift even further between us and our parents: we entered the digital information age, where everything anyone could possibly ever want to know is a simple click away. It was a startling and frightening development for parents and exciting for the newer generations, but it had the inadvertent effect of creating a rift between some parents and their children, almost isolating them and causing them to feel so out of place around their future successors. It's not the same kind of rebellious behavior that past generations have always experienced in their most revolutionary of times, but something far more alarming and detrimental to the development of these necessary and nurturing relationships.

Gloria experiences this kind of rift with her children. She constantly holds this need to stay in touch with them, to make sure they're alright, to ensure that their children are doing fine. In part Gloria Bell, an English-language remake of Sebastián Lelio's 2013 Chilean romantic drama from the same director, examines these relationship difficulties that Gloria endures with her children, and her own struggle to find her own kind of happiness in a modernized digital age.

It's a quiet kind of film- its centralized romance is told with almost no music whispering in the background, delivered in almost broken fragments that don't show the tail end of some conversations before whisking us onto the next line in this slow, melancholy, yet gorgeously written tale. Had this story been told any other way, it could have ended as just another generic American romance flick, but Lelio is anything but ordinary. DoP Natasha Braier's stunning shots are what make the film, when we aren't entranced by its strange and oddly unalarming whirlwind love story. The LA night clubs sparkle with charm and vivid color as Gloria begins her nights by dancing and drinking her troubles away- a simple divorcee trying to live her best life in spite of a crippling situation.

And, of course, who could talk about Gloria Bell without mentioning Julianne Moore? She has proven time and again that nearly any film can be instantly made ten times better with her in it: she just has some kind of demanding presence and star power that very few actresses can hold today. She fits in perfectly with Lelio's material- a strong willed woman living her own life without a care as to what anyone else would think of her. Even her children's cautionary reactions to her mysterious love affair doesn't seem to dissuade her, she will let nothing get between her and utter happiness. That romance is filled with an energetic performance from John Turturro, who is surprisingly well-versed, having detached himself from Bay's Transformers films to finally explore on his own once more. They're a shockingly perfect pair- an electric duo that shines against the glimmering disco ball and a fiery, sexy passion that I never would have expected from the latter.

I almost skipped out on Gloria Bell today (the second time this week), but now more than ever I want to rush back into the theater to immediately watch it all over again. It's just some kind of entrancing atmosphere from which I can't seem to escape from, nor do I want to. It's a gorgeous and stunning display that just creeps into your emotions and latches onto you when you least expect it. Maybe it's Turturro's sad, sickening face that you just can't say no to. Or maybe it's Julianne's saccharine persona that I just can't hate whenever her name is on a movie's poster. She has that kind of power that has been seen less of in her later years, yet Gloria Bell successfully captures some of the essence of that power in ways that I could have never imagined. Lelio is a magnificent storyteller, transplanting his original vision from the streets of Santiago to the pits of LA (and partially Las Vegas) in what I can only assume is a pitch perfect transfer that tells an identical story with the same essential power tuned for English audiences. It's one of the most profoundly surprising films of the year, and one that I urge each and every person to see, if only for the magnificent artistic experience.

-Wes Ball