GLORIA BELL – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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There’s usually little reason for a foreign-language film to get an English-language remake (that English-speaking audiences have an aversion to reading subtitles isn’t a good reason). But writer-director Sebastián Lelio found a really great excuse: because Julianne Moore, goddess, wanted to star in an American do-over of his 2013 dramedy Gloria. And as is typically not the way of these things, Gloria Bell does not feel superfluous next to the original movie but a wonderful compliment to it, with an unexpected additional feminist note in how it underscores the universalities of women’s lives across cultures, or at least across postindustrial Western ones.

The action has moved from Santiago to Los Angeles — and Lelio and Gonzalo Maza’s script has taken on a new writer, Alice Johnson Boher, perhaps to Americanize things — but much is the same here for this new Gloria, a divorced, 50something woman with a mundane office job. She is a magnificently ordinary woman, the kind we barely see onscreen at any age, and even less so the older a woman gets. Women like Gloria are, at best, usually supporting characters in bigger cinematic stories… as she is in the lives of those around her. Continue reading…

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MaryAnn Johanson

MaryAnn Johanson is a freelance writer on film, TV, DVD, and pop culture from New York City and now based in London. She is the webmaster and sole critic at, which debuted in 1997 and is now one of the most popular, most respected, and longest-running movie-related sites on the Internet. Her film reviews also appear in a variety of alternative-weekly newspapers across the U.S. Johanson is one of only a few film critics who is a member of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (the Webby organization), an invitation-only, 500-member body of leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities. She is also a member of the Online Film Critics Society. She has appeared as a cultural commentator on BBC Radio, LBC-London, and on local radio programs across North America, and she served as a judge at the first Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Film Festival at the 2003 I-Con, the largest SF convention on the East Coast. She is the author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride, and is an award-winning screenwriter. Read Johanson's recent articles below. For her archive, type "MaryAnn Johanson" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).