06 June 2019, The Tablet

Not ringing true

Not ringing true

Julianne Moore fails to convince as wallflower Gloria
Photo: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle


Gloria Bell
Director: Sebastian Lelio

The titular character of Gloria Bell is a middle-aged single woman who sells insurance by day and dances her heart out in a disco bar by night. She is a natural optimist who resists her lowering circumstances – two grown-up kids who have distanced themselves (her phone messages to them end, “It’s your mother”); a neighbour in her Los Angeles apartment block going noisily nuts; the intrusive company of a skinny and hairless cat in the same apartment; the fear of a lonely existence. 

This last condition is what the film is really about, and its soundtrack – “Alone Again (Naturally)”, “All Out Of Love”, “No More Lonely Nights” etc. – fairly keens away on the theme. That Gloria is being played by Julianne Moore, clear of skin, dazzling of smile and comely of figure, may confuse audiences. Even wearing her outsize spectacles she is no more convincing as a wallflower than if she’d suddenly decided to change her name to Eleanor Rigby. Her casting marks the second most obvious shift from its original source, Gloria, the 2013 Chilean film in which Paulina García played the urban
lonely heart.

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