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'Gloria' is an appealing and whimsical film about loving late in life

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Turning fifty doesn’t mean you have to stop living your life the way you want to live it, as demonstrated in “Gloria.” The film, which is Chile’s official entry for this year’s foreign language Oscar, is a melodramatic character study that is anchored by a fantastic performance from Paulina Garcia as the title character.

Gloria (Garcia) is an adventurous fifty-something divorcee who likes to hang out at a local discotheque where she flirts with men that are in her age group. She is happy and content with everything in her life that is not afraid to have a few one-night stands.

One night, she finds herself attracted to Rodolfo (Sergio Hernandez), a gentle middle-aged recently divorced businessman who owns an amusement park. They develop an energetic and romantic relationship, but cracks within the relationship begin to show when Gloria begins to suspect that Rodolfo might not be ready to settle down because he still finds himself emotional attached to his ex-wife and his two grown and demanding daughters.

“Gloria” is the antithesis of current Hollywood romantic films where young men and women are usually the lead characters. It’s about middle-aged characters falling in love late in life. Director Sebastian Lelio is not afraid to shoot an explicit sex scene with his middle-aged characters with all their imperfections displayed on the silver screen. He is also not afraid to show how difficult it is to start all over again in the dating world.

The leads are great, but Garcia dominates the film with her magnificent performance. She delivers a realistic and subtle performance that allows her to portray a variety of emotions that Gloria goes through in this movie from joy and enthusiasm to desperation and loneliness. The performance also allows Garcia to show that Gloria is not perfect as she finds herself enduring a vacation-gone-wrong with Rodolfo that culminates in her waking up on a nearby beach moneyless after a night of drunken debauchery.

Supported by Garcia’s likeable and vivid performance, “Gloria” is a delicate and upbeat story that shows you that life isn’t over once you get past the age of fifty.

“Gloria” is now playing at the Coral Gables Art Cinema. Click here for showtimes.


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