By William Wolf

NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL 2013--GLORIA  Send This Review to a Friend

Paulina Garcia gives one of the best performances of the year as Gloria Cumplido, a mature woman in Santiago, Chile, who is looking for romance, but prizes her dignity and wants to live without being at the whim of an unreliable man. “Gloria,” shown at the 2013 New York Film Festival, has been directed by Sebastián Lelio from a screenplay that he wrote with Gonzalo Maza. It is a film rich in detail and in its celebration of a woman’s quest for grasping life on her own terms.

A divorcee for over 12 years, Gloria has two grown children and a grandson. She is looking for a Mr. Right to fulfill her desires, and she thinks she has found him when she meets and enters a romance with the recently separated Rodolfo, played by Sergio Hernández. He is sophisticated and with a taste for the good things in life. But there is a flaw. It turns out that he is unable to break the bonds with his wife.

Rodolfo disappoints her repeatedly until there is one incident that is unforgivably cruel. It is too much for even the understanding Gloria to endure, and she strikes back. In one respect, this is a sad story, but Gloria’s ultimate self-assertion uplifts the film as well as herself, and audiences will be rooting for her as she enters a new, liberating phase of her life.

Garcia’s performance renders Gloria a formidable character, and while the film has plenty of humor along with the heartbreak, it stands affirmatively in the corner of the right of women to insist that they will not be taken for granted. “Gloria” is as enjoyable as it is uplifting. A Roadside Attractions release. Posted December 1, 2013.


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