It don’t matter how old you get, the good times just don’t end.
58-year-old divorcée Gloria (Paulina García) is a woman who sort of beats along to her own drum. She’s got two, grown kids, a couple of friends, a cat that always wanders into her apartment-complex and even a housekeeper that she sees regularly, so she isn’t necessarily lonely. But that still doesn’t stop her from going out to all of these “Single’s Nights” at these countless bars where she drinks, dances, jams out to music and, if lucky, finds a cute guy that she may, or may not want to go back home with. It’s like she’s all young and free again, when times were simpler. One night however, she ends up catching the eye of fellow divorcée Rodolfo (Sergio Hernández), who she doesn’t actually need in her life to make her feel more complete, but hey, he’s a nice enough guy that she’ll start something with and see where it goes from there. Eventually, the two begin to get all wrapped-up into one another, but it’s not before long when problems start to arise from both sides, and they’re left with the questions: Just where should we go with this? Or better yet, does it really seem to be going anywhere?
Every so often, we see the quintessential, “woman on her own” flick and for the most part, it’s all pretty standard-stuff. First of all, we get an older woman who is trying to get over her messy divorce, with a more-than messy ex of hers; watch as she tries to rekindle that flame within her soul with other, possible love-interests out there; and we also get to see how her past life, is also colliding with her newfound freedom that she can’t help but express every chance she gets. So yeah, we’ve seen this formula done so many times by now, it’s almost too hard to shock us, or give us something new that spices up the conventions.
However, in the case of Gloria, we aren’t necessarily shocked by the story, nor does anything really get mixed around to where we could call it “innovative” – it’s just another simple tale, of a simple, older woman, who also happens to just want to have a bit of fun in her life, without getting bogged-down by all of the dumb, useless shite in life like marriage, kids, mortgages and death.
Who needs that crap when you have happiness, right?
And that’s pretty much the general-basis for what this story holds: We watch as this woman Gloria, a woman we just met, go throughout her later-life where she experiences things she may never, ever have before, and seems to embrace it all with a warm smile and a huge heart. Even if she has experienced some of this stuff before, it doesn’t matter because she’s still happy to be walking down memory-lane, and we feel happy for her as well. We don’t know too much about her past, other than the fact that she was married, has kids and is close enough with them to stop-by every so often. I didn’t see anything wrong with that picture, so I just took for granted that everything I was seeing about Gloria, on-display in front of me, was all I needed to know about her.
That’s why, even though not much may happen throughout the whole hour-and-a-half, it’s still interesting to see where Gloria’s life takes her. Sometimes, she surprises those around her by how open she is to new things; and heck, sometimes she even surprises herself. But she’s experiencing life in a way that she may never, ever have before where she does activities such as paint-balling, sky-diving and having sex on the beach. Yup, every new thing is that Gloria does is just a new experience for her to add onto her list, but we never judge her for doing anything and we never really see her as bad person, per se. More or less, we just see her as a “person”, who may not be perfect and may get caught-up in some sketchy situations that she doesn’t know how to bail herself out of, but she’s still a person that I believed in every step of the way.
Most of that really comes down to Paulina García’s wonderful performance as Gloria, where she gets a lot to do here, and doesn’t shy-away from getting raw and gritty if she needs to. Which does mean that yes, for all of you horny, over-50-year-old-loving pervs out there are wondering: She does get naked an awful lot. But it’s never done in a gratuitous way, and as strange as this may sound, makes us feel closer to who she is as a person, because more often than not, she’s able to use that said naked-body as a weapon of sorts to get what it is that she wants. Sure, she’s got a lovely-presence about her and a care-free spirit, but when any guy, it doesn’t matter who, is getting some woman’s nakey-wakey body thrown right in their face, they can’t help but say, “Get over here!” Regardless of whose body it is, too.
What I am trying to say here though is that while Gloria may not always make the best decisions a woman her age should make, García always remains astonishing to watch as she never hits a false-note. Though I’ve never seen García in anything before, had I been able to associate the name with the face and all that stuff, I probably still would have seen her as “Gloria”, and not just “Paulina García playing some chick named Gloria”. That’s a real, class-A acting-job on her part and it makes me wonder if I’ll see more of her in the near-future, or if this is about all the exposure to her I may get. I hope that’s not the case, but you never know with Hollywood casting-agents.
Always so picky, those bastards.
Also playing alongside García for quite some time is Sergio Hernández as Rodolfo, the one man Gloria meets and ends up spending an awful-lot of time with. His performance here is very good and, in ways, could almost be declared as being “more challenging” as García’s, due to the fact that his character goes through some very strange ups and downs, and you never know what it is you should think about him. Don’t want to give too much away because his character’s choices will surprise the heck out of you, but the way he goes about things with Gloria and with his own family, is very interesting as you can tell that he seriously, really and truly does want to be with Gloria, forever and ever, but also can’t seem to get away from his own family that he left almost one year ago. His intentions are never clear and that’s why, I think at least, Rodolfo may have been a more intriguing character to watch, because you never know what he’s going to do next, or why, and how it is that Gloria is going to react to him and his actions. Like Gloria, he too is a bit suspect with the countless choices he makes, but their his choices and they feel deserved. Which is probably why he and Gloria are so drawn to one another, but then again, they don’t need to be.
They’re just with one another because, well, they can. That’s all you need in life; somebody to be there when you wake up, come home and go to sleep at night. Lovely, lovely stuff.
Consensus: Anchored mainly by both García and Hernández’s stellar performances, Gloria isn’t anything new that you haven’t seen done a hundred times in the “late-blooming woman becomes independent”-sub-genre, but it still worth the watch to see just who this woman is and why it matters that we have a whole movie dedicated to just her, experiencing life in its fullest, finest form. Most of the time, that is.
8 / 10 = Matinee!!