Blu-ray Review: Gloria Bell

STUDIO: Lionsgate | DIRECTOR: Sebastian Lelio | CAST: Julianne Moore, Sean Astin, Alanna Ubach, Michael Cera, Jeanne Triplehorn, John Turturro
RELEASE DATE: June 4, 2019 | PRICE: DVD $13.90, Blu-ray $17.99
SPECS: R | 122 min. | Genre | 2.35:1 widescreen| stereo | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall 

A closely drawn remake by Chile’s Sebastian Lelio (Disobedience) of Gloria, his own 2014 foreign language hit, Gloria Bell stars the always reliable Julianne Moore (Still Alice) as the title character, a lonely, middle-aged divorcee who seeks a human connection at the dance clubs she visits at night.

Here, Gloria works for a Los Angeles insurance company and has a shaky relationship with her son (Michael Cera, Molly’s Game) and daughter (Caren Pistorious, Denial) and an even shakier one with her ex-husband (Brad Garrett, Not Fade Away). She is hopeful when she thinks she meets her proper partner at one of the clubs: Arnold (John Turturro, Transformers: The Last Knight), a nice guy owner of a paintball business. While both show serious interest in each other, Gloria has a problem with Arnold’s continuous ties to his family and sees that as a threat to her independence. It comes of little surprise that they break up and get back together a few times during the period the film covers.

Gloria Bell is anecdotal, with much of its time and energy spent on Gloria’s sometimes fiery altercations with the people around her. As Gloria, Moore is a force of nature with subtle shadings, and has the difficult task of making the stubborn, not-always likable Gloria someone to root for. Lelio gets top grades for mixing offbeat humor with pathos, and delivering a solid English language translation of his arthouse favorite. The film is also helped immeasurably by its musicwhich includes such bittersweet songs as “Alone Again (Naturally),” “No More Lonely Nights,” and, of course, Laura Brannigan’s anthemic “Gloria” and reliable support by the likes of Rita Wilson (My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2), Jeanne Tripplehorn (Grey Gardens), Holland Taylor (The Chosen One) and Barbara Sukowa (Atomic Blonde) in small roles.

Gloria received solid reviews, but only hit $5.6 million at the box-office in a medium sized release pattern. There’s an underserved audience of middle-aged female film fans seeking romantic stories that this film will likely attract when it hits the ancillary market.

Buy or Rent Gloria Bell (2018)

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.