Sebastian Lelio’s Gloria is a worthy film about a middle-aged woman (Paulina Garcia) who likes a good time and who is not going to let her age keep her down. She’s a little lonely. Her two children also live in Santiago, but one is a single father with a baby and a partner who split and the other is a yoga instructor and hippie-type who is falling in love with a Swedish mountain climber. She hovers over them a bit too closely for their tastes but that’s pretty normal. She also attends a singles’ club of sorts for older people, where she hopes to meet some men. She drinks, has a good time. She’s somewhat associated with the art scene of Santiago, or at least has a lot of artist friends. At the club, she meets Sergio Hernandez, a charming gentlemen with a past. He can’t escape his ex-wife and two daughters, who are spoiled and awful and rely on him for everything. They try to make it work, or she does anyway. He wants to be Mr. Suave, but not only can’t he break away, but has freak out moments where he just bails. Of course, she wonders if he’s divorced at all.
This movie has received most of its notice because of how it embraces middle-aged female sexuality. Of course sex scenes are mostly pretty boring, but the slight shock value and refusal to shy away (and why should we! Older people have sex!) from the sensual bodies of the aging make it work.
Not that a Chilean film has to address the dictatorship past, but there’s an interesting scene where Hernandez meets Gloria’s children and they ask what he did. He says he was a naval officer. Not army. Navy. There’s uncomfortable silence as everyone wonders if he was a Pinochet flack. And then they move on.
There are some pretty funny scenes and an excellent use of a paintball gun. All in all, not a life-changing film, but a pleasant night out.