When I first saw the trailer for ‘Gloria Bell’ a couple of months ago, I told myself, this is my kind of movie. I mean, a middle-aged woman singing along to ONJ’s ‘A Little More Love? ‘ I may or may not have done the exact same thing in real life. So in some way, this movie has already already spoke to me. In most ways. I am Gloria Bell.
Sebastion Lello remakes his 2013 movie, but he calls this a ‘cover version.’ Well, I will look at this as I do most cover versions of songs – did this new version dd anything to the original? To be honest, I don’t much remember a lot of the original, only that I remember liking it. Some bits and pieces came back while I watching this, but for all intent and purposes, this film feels new to me.
The film is anchored by a great performance by Julianne Moore, who gives the role all the gusto she can. It is nice to see Moore kind of loosen up, as I always look at her as a schooled, controlled actress. I think a lot of her performance here is still intelligently calculated, but it still mostly works for me. She could still be cold at times – can you imagine the earthiness that Michelle Pfeiffer would bring to the role – but she makes it work for her character, a Gloria that hides behind a still steel state. And when we see her dancing at the end of the film, we sense the journey that Gloria has gone through.
And Lello’s film is more relaxed in Los Angeles, without the political undertones of the original – it’s California after all. There’s an authenticity to Gloria being there, and her friends did not feel like curated accessories. John Turturro is great as Arnold, showing quiet crazy as only he can. The story here has some holes, and the pacing could be sometimes picked up a bit, but all in all, this is an entertaining film, and for someone like me, a better choice this weekend than the bloated superhero movie it is up against.