Before I get into the review of Gloria Bell, let me tell you a story. I’ve been a member of AARP for a few decades now – joined up when I turned 45. They’ve always had a feature called Movies for Grownups within AARP. Lately they’ve started taking movies for grownups on the road with free screenings of various movies all over the country. The latest is Gloria Bell.
Imagine being in a theater where every seat was crammed full, clear down to the first row, with gray-haired elders. That’s how I saw Gloria Bell. It was a beautiful experience. Beautiful movie and beautiful audience!
But enough about me. Let’s talk about 58 year old Julianne Moore, who is one of the most enchanting and talented creatures on earth and who plays Gloria Bell in this film.
Julianne Moore fills every frame of the film. We peer into her life in the most intimate ways. We see her working, sleeping, fighting with the cat who intends to adopt her, clubbing by herself, dancing, drinking, and bringing home strangers for sex.
One particular stranger who makes it into Gloria’s apartment and bed is Arnold (John Turturro). Arnold sticks around and becomes part of Gloria’s life. He’s a bit odd. There are red flags that are hard to ignore about Arnold.
Gloria is lonely. She likes having Arnold there. She likes the sex. She likes the company. She tries to integrate him into her life and family. But things aren’t right with him and eventually she has to deal with it. You can only ignore red flags for so long before they smack you in the face.
Some of the other players in Gloria’s journey with and through the Arnold saga include her mother (Holland Taylor), her son Peter (Michael Cera) and her daughter Anne (Caren Pistorius). We also meet her ex, Dustin (Brad Garrett), and his new wife (Jeanne Tripplehorn). Rita Wilson and Cassi Thomson play friends of Gloria’s.
Sean Astin plays another anonymous pickup of hers – the one who helped her drink her way through a night that ended with her belongings lost and Gloria passed out on a chair by the pool. Was Sean Astin a romantic lead as a young actor? It sure seems like he gets all the best women now.
Julianne Moore is brilliant as Gloria Bell. She’s stunning in every way in this role. She’s lonely and vulnerable, she’s capable and competent, she’s loving and protective, she’s triumphant. She’s a fully formed woman determined to live her best life.
Sebastián Lelio directed the film. You can catch it on Prime Video, YouTube, or Google Play. It’s worth looking for.
Have you seen Gloria Bell? What did you think of it?