First Hit: I thought the concept was interesting, but it fell a little flat on the screen.
This story is about a middle age woman who has two grown kids, has been divorced for 12 years, and her flirtation with another romance.
Gloria (Julianne Moore) works for an insurance firm as an adjuster. Her favorite pastime is dancing at a local club. The club she goes to is filled with people her age (40 – 60) who are also looking for a good time and possibly a hook-up. Gloria drinks and dances her evenings away. She meets nice gentlemen, but there isn’t any spark and it doesn’t seem to matter.
I never got the feeling that she wanted to get involved in a relationship, and to fill the spaces of time in her life she tries to get more involved in her grown children’s lives. They are slightly open to her intrusions.
Anne (Caren Pistorius), her daughter is a yoga teacher who is engaged to a big wave surfer. She loves her mom, but she’s a young woman who wants to create distance from her mom, despite loving her, to dive into her own life. Her son Jeremy (Michael Cera), is raising his daughter alone as his wife is off “finding herself.” Gloria tries to be helpful and Jeremy tells her to back off because he wants to show her that he’s got everything covered, his way.
One night, while dancing, Gloria meets Arnold (John Turturro). He’s recently divorced and wants to be in a relationship. In fact, his hunger for a relationship is almost too telegraphed.
Gloria and Arnold hit it off. However, the sticking point is that his daughters and his ex-wife keep calling him because they are dependent on him for everything. Although his daughters are grown, he’s expected to pay for everything and solve every problem. The phone ringing in each scene with him is a moment in abject disgust and suffering for him, Gloria and the audience.
Despite their powerful physical intimacy, the calls, his insecurity around her family, and his dependence on being a savior for his girls, give this film it’s saddest and troubling moments.
My favorite scene in the film is when Gloria shoots paintballs at Arnold and his house. A very freeing moment for Gloria.
Moore is very good at portraying what she wants, her vulnerabilities, and what makes her happy. One of those things that makes her happy is singing in the car with complete abandon. These moments are priceless if you are a car singer. Pistorius is very good as the daughter that wants to follow her own dream and not have to live up to mom’s expectations. Cera, likewise, is strong in his portrayal of living up to the father he wants to be and do it his way. Turturro is excellent as the guilt and caretaker man who is caught between his love for Gloria and providing for his family’s needs. Brad Garrett is good as Gloria’s ex-husband. Alison Johnson Boher and Sebastian Lelio wrote a tepid screenplay that had more possibilities. However, it is a difficult subject to film. Lelio directed this film and many of the scenes were captured nicely.
Overall: Although at times tedious there are moments of laughter.