The trials and tribulations of love and life for the middle aged has always been something of interest. The scarcity of roles for women over there 40s has slowly diminished of late as we have seen a steady increase of powerhouse performances over that once dreaded age.
This is Gloria, played with honesty and warmth by Paulina García, When we first meet Gloria, the camera finds her in a crowded club. Alone. Quick to assume this will be a descending journey about a woman who is haunted by lost love and youth, we are immediately mistaken.
Gloria is an independent woman who divorced 12 years previous. She has two grown up children who have little time for her, not out of respite but because they have busy lives. Gloria has the confidence to dress up and go out to clubs. It is here she meets Rodolfo (Sergio Hernández). Gloria is wise and treats this romance with trepidation while still enjoying herself. Despite Rodolfo’s confessions of love, he is challenged to being completely honest with Gloria and hides his family life from her.
This is a genuine tale of one person’s quiet life and their conquest of romance. The sex scenes are graphic and frank leaving no stone unturned about the ravages of time on our screen lovers. This isn’t intended to shock, the tenderness of the cinematography by Benjamín Echazarreta enhances the realism of Gloria’s romance.
Garcia is the beating heart of this film, which would otherwise seem derived of much action. The expert direction of Sebastián Lelio, allows the audience to be uplifted during the romantic scenes and be confused and infuriated when the love that was once so promising diminishes as quickly as it came about.
Most may see Gloria as a trivial or pointless film about a middle aged woman-experiencing love but this is an important film. Rarely does a film capture the exciting phases of new love and then the frustrating bitterness of its demise. We cheer for Gloria because this isn’t a story about a woman challenged by her age. This is a self-sufficient character with her wits about her, she is not depressed and she is confident about herself and her body.
At the end of the screening for this review, the middle aged audience awkwardly but slowly triumphantly clapped at the end credits. Maybe we are all Gloria, now or at some stage. Love comes and goes at any age.
Gloria is in Australia cinemas from 27 February through Rialto Distribution.