On the Scene 3/29: Julianne Moore is a snore in ‘Gloria Bell’


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While Jordan Peele’s latest horror film “Us” is currently reigning supreme at the box office, I opted to see Julianne Moore’s latest film “Gloria Bell” this past weekend.

It may have been for my distaste for horror films, or it could have been my friend’s unhealthy obsession with Moore, but the two of us found ourselves as not only the youngest people in the theater, but the only males as well.

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Moore plays the title character in the film with a run time of an hour and 45 minutes, but what felt more like four hours. The film, which is about a woman in her mid-to-late 50s who enjoys frequenting dance clubs while she seeks company either for a night or longer after being divorced for 12 years, had a plot that didn’t go anywhere at all.

Moore’s character finds herself in the same place in the final five minutes of the film as she did in the initial five. Though it’s not just Moore’s character who doesn’t progress throughout the film, but every other character as well.

Bell eventually takes a love interest, Arnold (John Turturro), a recently divorced man with two daughters in their late 20s who he refers his daughters many times as lazy individuals who do absolutely nothing and it’s his job to care for them, though he is not appreciated for it.

Arnold, who is looking to find himself now that he has gotten out of his marriage, meets Bell at a dance club and the two immediately hit it off. After spending a night with each other, he asks her out and the two begin a relationship.

Eventually, Arnold cannot get over his own issues with his family and literally abandons Bell on more than one occasion. She is fed up with him and the film ends right back where it began – with Bell alone.

Michael Cera portrays Moore’s son, Peter, a recent father whose wife ran away to find herself. He spends the majority of the film depressed at home while Bell comes to help with her grandchild.

At one point, we hear Peter on the phone with his wife and he asks her where she is. The conversation ends when she won’t reveal her location and he is left in the same place as before. The wife never returns, and we don’t know if Peter will ever be content with being a single father because we can just add this as another example to the long list of characters whose stories never develop throughout the film.

Caren Pistorius plays Bell’s daughter, Anne, who recently reveals she was impregnated by a professional Swedish surfer and she is moving to Sweden to be with him. Bell accidentally reveals this information to her ex-husband Dustin (Brad Garrett), who is baffled as to why he was not told this himself.

We get the impression that there is some kind of history between the two characters, but we never get the confirmation. For a quarter of the film, we watch this awkward dance between father and daughter where we can only speculate what’s going on between them. We gather that everything will be revealed later in the film – but it’s not.

Anne gets on the plane for Sweden and leaves without saying so much as goodbye to her father, and not only do we not get to see a resolution between father and daughter, but we don’t even get the information as to why there was an issue in the first place.

The one redeeming aspect of this film was Holland Taylor who portrayed Bell’s mother, Hillary. Though she probably only accumulated 10 minutes of screen time at most, she is always such fun to watch, and funny too. Good for Sarah Paulson.

A film that takes you on a journey to absolutely nowhere is not a good one at all, in my opinion. But if you are a fan of loose ends, by all means, this film is for you!

Ken Downey Jr. is the Features Editor for Time OFF and Packet Publications. This is a part of his series of weekly columns focusing on arts and entertainment. He can be contacted at kdowney@newspapermediagroup.com.

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