A modest, sharply observed look at middle-aged single life and romance.
Sebastián Lelio (Chile/Spain, Special Presentation)
Monday, September 9, 7:45 p.m.
TIFF Bell Lightbox 1 (350 King Street West)
Tuesday, September 10, 5 p.m.
Scotiabank 2 (259 Richmond Street West)
Theatre actress, director, and playwright Paulina García deservedly took home the Silver Bear prize at the Berlin Film Festival for her effortless performance in Gloria, the fourth feature from Chilean director Sebastián Lelio. García plays a fiftysomething divorcee with hipster glasses and good style, a contentedly single woman who’s nevertheless hoping to find some companionship at one of the singles mixers she goes to most nights.
Those parties are captured at their most buoyant by Lelio, who often finds Gloria walking across the room at a distance in his long, steady takes. The film is at its most rewarding when it’s in this unfussy, observational mode, diving headlong into Gloria’s romantic life, including a strange and sad episode with a more recently divorced older man. At times Lelio leans too hard on the symbolism, as in Gloria’s fraught exchanges with a hairless cat that wanders into her apartment like an obvious harbinger of death, but he’s always reigned in by the beautifully modulated work of his lead actress.