The eponymous protagonist of Gloria is a middle-aged woman, long divorced and getting by OK in her somewhat lonely life. Gloria (Paulina Garcia) has a job and a decent apartment in Santiago, Chile: In the evenings, she gets dressed up and goes dancing. One night at the nightclub, she meets Rodolfo (Sergio Hernandez), also middle-aged, divorced and lonely. The two strike up a relationship. Perhaps there can be a second chance at love?
Gloria, who struggles to connect with grown children who no longer need her mothering, throws herself wholeheartedly into the affair — she even goes bungee-jumping at Rodolfo's adventure park. But Rodolfo can't break away from his dependent ex-wife and grown daughters, and the new relationship begins to fracture.
A middle-aged woman with a passion for life, muddling through after no longer fitting into the culturally prescribed roles of "wife" and "mother" ... it's a common situation in real life, but rarely depicted in films. Sebastián Lelio's low-key drama does a fine job of telling one woman's story, though Gloria leans more toward naturalistic than dramatic. Some may find the slower pace and lack of melodrama challenging.
Gloria's real asset is actress Garcia, who delivers a deceptively quiet performance that nonetheless showcases Gloria's longing, loneliness and resilience.