Featured DVD Review: Gloria
Gloria is a small film from Chile which came out in limited release this January. It earned near perfect reviews and pulled in $2 million in limited release, which is great for a foreign language film. This week, the DVD comes out. Is it worth checking out? Are there enough extras on the DVD that it is worth picking up?
The film focuses on a woman, Gloria Cumplido, who is described as a "woman of a certain age". She's been divorced for more than a decade, but still tries to get out and date. At the beginning of the movie she's at the club and she recognizes and old acquaintance, Joaquin, but when she goes over to him, he doesn't recognize her. When she tells him who she is, he's not that excited to see her. Gloria is a 58-year old divorcee whose children have moved out and she is a little lonely. She's trying to get back into the dating scene, but it is proving difficult. It's not that she can't find men interested in her, it's just that one-night stands are not satisfying.
For most of the first part of the movie, we see Gloria going about her day-to-day life. Going to work, singing in the car, going to clubs, attending a group laughing session. (I have no idea what that's about.) She keeps herself busy, but not fulfilled. That is, until she meets Rodolfo. Rodolfo, like Gloria, is divorced and is trying to get back into life. The two connect on an emotional, as well as physical sense. They spend a great deal of time together, but is this the beginning of a lasting love? Or will something prevent long-term happiness.
There's not a lot of plot that happens in this movie. It is much more of a character-driven drama. This is not a complaint, but a statement of fact. If you are looking for a lot of plot developments, then this isn't the movie for you. On the other hand, if you are looking for a movie that centers around an incredibly well-crafted character brought to life in a masterful way by the lead actress, then this is a movie that you have to see. As far as I know, and I admit this isn't my area of expertise, but as far as I know, Paulina Garcia isn't a big star in her native Chile and from what I've read, she is known more for her theater work that her film work. If that is true and her performance in this movie is any indication, then the people who get to see her live are very lucky. The helps create such a real character, one that has both strengths and weaknesses, one that is both mature and kind and one that is also capable of making harsh and rash decisions. Since there's very little else in this movie, Gloria had to be a very engaging character and Paulina Garcia, along with the co-writers, Sebastian Lelio and Gonzalo Maza, did just that.
The only extras on the DVD are three minutes of behind-the-scenes footage set to music. Granted, most foreign language films don't have a lot of extras, but this is still disappointing.
For anyone interested in seeing an excellent performance in what is almost a one-woman show, Gloria is worth picking up. Even without much in the way of extras on the DVD, it is still worth owning. If the DVD was loaded with extras, then it would have been a contender for pick of the week.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Date posted: 2014-04-28