Julianne Moore in a scene from the movie Gloria Bell.
Julianne Moore in a scene from the movie Gloria Bell. Supplied

MOVIE REVIEW: Moore dances to a new tune in glorious remake


Four stars

Director Sebastian Lelio

Starring Julianne Moore, John Turturro, Michael Cera

Rating M

Running time 102 minutes

Verdict Moore, Moore, Moore!


What might tempt a director to remake his already acclaimed 2013 film in another language?

For Sebastian Lelio, it was an expression of interest from the Oscar-winning actress Julianne Moore.

"As one of the greatest actresses in the world, Julianne giving her interpretation of the character is not only a huge honour, it's irresistible," Sebastian Lelio told the Hollywood Reporter when the project was announced in Cannes two years ago.

"It's going to be like jazz, you'll feel the spirit of the original story, but it'll be re-invigorated and vital."

Moore has an executive producer's credit on Gloria Bell, in which she plays a middle-aged divorcee who braves the potentially bruising world of LA's mature singles bars with a kind of freewheeling directness that's both attractive and a little unnerving.

Julianne Moore in a scene from Gloria Bell.
Julianne Moore in a scene from Gloria Bell.

It helps that, at 58, the actress is still extraordinarily beautiful (at one point during the film, another woman asks Gloria whether she's had any work done. "No", she laughs. "But thanks".)

And that she moves well on the dance floor.

But later that same night, as Gloria removes her make-up, her loneliness is laid bare.

And even though she has a good relationship with her two adult children (Michael Cera, Caren Pistorius), it's becoming increasingly apparent that she needs them more than they need her.

Accompanying this jumble of emotions is an 80s soundtrack -- Air Supply's All Out of Love, Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart and Paul McCartney's No More Lonely Nights - to which Gloria sings along in her own private version of car karaoke.

When Arnold (John Turturro) catches her eye on the dance floor, romance blossoms.

Julianne Moore and John Turturro in a scene from Gloria Bell.
Julianne Moore and John Turturro in a scene from Gloria Bell. Supplied

But what initially seems like first-date awkwardness proves to be something more complex.

Arnold's insecurity rears its head during a family birthday dinner for Gloria's son, which is also attended by her ex (Brad Garrett) and his new wife (Jeanne Tripplehorn).

And things go seriously awry during what is supposed to be a make-up weekend at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.

Lelio's instincts served him well with Gloria Bell, his second English-language film (after Disobedience, with Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams).

Moore's version of the character doesn't supercede that of Chilean actress Paulina Garcia, who was also terrific in the role, but there's a candour to the American actress's performance that's compelling, confronting and ultimately inspiring, in a pick yourself up, dust yourself off kind of way.

Moore's enthusiasm for the project also makes a lot of sense.

Not many writer-directors - male or female - create roles as rich and complex and compassionate as this for older women. Or indeed women of any age.

An everyday survival story.

Opens tomorrow

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