There is something magical about the film “Gloria.” The sheer simplicity of the storyline, the fantastic performances which Paulina Garcia and Sergio Hernandez give (as Gloria and Rodolfo respectively) and the frightening reality of what life as a divorcee is like.
Gloria is a divorcee in her late fifties. Instead of letting loneliness overcome her, she finds solace in night clubs, flirting with single men and finding a sense of belonging in temporary sensuality. On one evening at her favourite club, Gloria meets Rodolfo, an ex-naval officer who is also divorced. In the initial encounters the two build a keen affection for each other, taking part in adrenaline filled activities, refusing to let age deter them. However, one shrill ring tone and several phone calls change all of that.
While Gloria works full time, she regularly keeps in touch with her children. In the opening thirty minutes she does a Yoga class which is run by her daughter, as well as visiting her son and his child. While they are not bickering at each other, one can’t help but feel both children feel a bit awkward within their mother’s company. Rodolfo meanwhile goes down the track of buying affection. Those phone calls (which were mentioned earlier) come from his daughters and ex-wife, who are dependent on him for financial support as none of them work. In other words he’s “whipped.”
Not only is he whipped, Rodolfo is also not reliable. In one instance, Gloria takes Rodolfo to the birthday party of her son. Here the audience is introduced to Gloria’s ex-husband and his new ‘partner.’ When the daughter announces big news as well, a toast is done to commemorate the two occasions. Unbeknownst to anyone until much later on, Rodolfo leaves on account of an earlier phone call which he received. Much to Gloria’s disgust he does not come back or even answer his phone. Weeks later he reappears, remorseful and intent on restoring the relationship again, only to go missing again.
The theme of appearance vs. reality is explored constantly. At one stage Gloria is smoking drugs and drinking heavily, believing the lie that it’ll bring her happiness. While Gloria tries to put on a strong face, it doesn’t take long to realise what a broken soul she is. Her noisy neighbour upstairs cannot contain his anger and can often be heard venting at night time. When the neighbour eventually appears on screen, he is nothing but a wiry, pathetic drug addict; a far cry from what you’d expect to see.
Alongside each other Pauline Garcia and Sergio Hernandez are superb. Garcia appears to do a lot of her acting off positive energy, even in the more melancholy moments. Her portrayal of a divorced mother is touching, even though the situation her character is in isn’t. Hernandez does a lot of acting simply by using his facial expressions. As his character is somewhat covert, it helps that he used non-verbal communication so effortlessly.
Gloria is entertaining, informative and realistic. The ending can either be seen as happy or sad depending on how you perceive the situation. A classy film nevertheless.