“Gloria Bell” is a mulligan do-over from Sebastián Lelio, who had written and directed this story already as “Gloria” (2013). Lelio has taken a very mundane story of a woman (you can guess the name) who is middle-aged, divorced and has some indifferent kids and a supportive ex-husband. Gloria has some unusual life experiences with her love life. She has a very positive outlook on life, which makes her a good friend. But as a girlfriend, she expects to have a steady relationship. When it turns out that the relationship that she gets is very shaky instead, she has a few choice words.
Gloria (Julianne Moore) spends most of her day working, but when she has free time in the evening – she loves to dance at a club. She has very large glasses and she will occasionally smoke. She likes to sing along with songs on the radio. She has an apartment with a very loud upstairs neighbor and a silly little cat that always winds up in her room. The cat is not hers, and she throws it out every day, just to see that same cat the next day. Her son (Michael Cera) and daughter (Caren Pistorius) do not have a whole lot of time for Gloria. That is why she goes to the club at night.
She meets Arnold (John Turturro) one night and the hit it off. They start to see each other more and more. Arnold runs a place that does a lot of outdoor fun stuff; trampolines and paint ball guns and the like. He even lets Gloria borrow one of the paint ball guns. She invites Arnold to a party with her family. Her son and daughter are there, along with her ex-husband (Brad Garrett) and his current wife. Arnold feels more and more out-of-place, as the conversations are about the family history. He gets a phone call, and then leaves without saying anything. After a while they notice Arnold is gone, and they don’t know if there has been something that happened.
Gloria is especially upset that he left without an explanation about where he was headed or where he went. He explains that he has two daughters, and they are very ‘fragile’ (as he puts it). He is a helicopter dad hovering over his kid’s lives and watching everything that they do. At the least provocation, he will split from the scene and go be with his kids. Mind you, these are grown young women, but they are so incapable of dealing with life that they must call Daddy for everything. Gloria is furious that he dumped her at her own party without an explanation. Arnold begs and begs and begs and begs for a chance to come back into Gloria’s life. But she always tells him no.
Until she tells him yes. He arranges for a private weekend for just the two of them in Las Vegas. It works out wonderfully. Until Arnold gets a phone call. There is an emergency with his daughter. He refuses to leave and go to help them. Until he does leave. And Gloria is alone once more, left in the lurch. Nothing to do now but dance and drink the night away. Which is all well and good, until she wakes up after being passed out on a pool lounge chair… Arnold asks for forgiveness (again). What will Gloria do? Can she afford to be burned again by a man who to more dedicated to his immature kids than to her? Can she ever find a use for those extra paint ball guns that Arnold had loaned to her?
“Gloria Bell” is very thin mast used to haul up the main sail of Julianne Moore’s performance. She kills it (as typical for her) in this role, even when there is not much meat on the character bone. She is great and does a very believable job. John Turturro is also up to the high bar of acting that he is known for, but his character is not very deep. There is an attempt to give a slow narrative structure to this move. But more often it falls apart into tissue-like segments that feel disconnected. The original movie (“Gloria” 2013) was in Spanish. So maybe something was lost in the translation.