A romantic ballad is playing while a woman sits on a bar, enjoying a cigarette and watching the moves performed by apparently happy people. Gloria is a divorcee who likes going to these dancing ballrooms attempting to meet a man she could share her intimacy and undoubtedly the days ahead of aging process. Discreet and charming, Gloria cultivates an active outgoing life, dividing her time with work responsibilities, watching over her grown-up children, sharing her solitude with an older housekeeper, attending dating meetings and trying to get rid of a cat that insistently invades her apartment.
Well spirited and carrying a gracious smile, she drives around listening and singing to songs that depicts the connections between lovers, and the complications of being different from one other. She meets Rodolfo, who’s also a divorcee and finds herself delved into the affair, compromising it and risking her own conceptions and attitudes. Both of them need to deal with the families they belong to, creating a barrier in their process of growing a mutual support in preparation for the next level of aging together. Gloria makes everything possible to get the best of it, giving herself completely to the risen emotions, and although she’s been there before, the passion she’s discovering feels as new as the baby her daughter’s expecting.
While Gloria cannot pretend she’s ignoring him in the occasion of a family gathering to celebrate her son’s birthday, he also can’t deny he’s unable to let the past go, as his daughters’ constant calls for favors, are interruptions of what should have been moments to learn of themselves apart from certain obligations.
Paulina Garcia gives a strong, daring and enchanting performance as Gloria, which deservedly gave her the Silver Bear Prize for Best Actress in Berlin. She captivates the audience, creating a lovely, irresistible and intelligent woman, whom anyone would be attracted to in many forms; she carries the resemblance of a great friend, a sister, a mother, or a lover, that immediately identify the audience to a heart-warming feeling.
Her determination is outstanding, she knows what she wants and what she needs, and despite her age, the fears, insecurities, troubles of modern society, and her hidden fragility, she’s fierce and unbeatable.
It won’t be a surprise if the Academy falls for her passionate personification giving her an Oscar nomination, recognizing her as a great Latin American actress.
Music also plays an important key to the film, being the element that connects people, bringing them together to moments of joy, including in a cozy scene where they perform “Águas de Março” among friends. Her strange relationship with her neighbor, and the exploration of marijuana giving her the opportunity to materialize her desires and instincts, also serves as metaphors favoring her.
Chile’s official entry for the Academy Awards Foreign Film selection, director Sebastián Lelio conceived a funny, sensible and humorous look at family, marriage and loneliness, through Gloria’s second chance on love and everyone’s need for accomplishing the main goal in life: finding love. (Playing at New York Film Festival)