“Gloria”: Critics raved! Hated it

By Caitlin Kelly


It’s rare I actually hate a film, but this one is added to my short list. Starring Julianne Moore — who does her best with a sad-sack role — “Gloria” is a re-make of a 2013 film of the same name and theme.

I hadn’t seen the previous one, but thought — OK, Julianne Moore (who usually makes good films) and who is also executive producer here — I’m in.

I came home and read a bunch of reviews to see who else thought…uggggggh.  Every major media outlet loved it.

I just don’t get this film’s appeal.

Gloria, divorced, with two adult children (one with an infant whose wife has wandered off), the other pregnant by a Swedish pro surfer, lives alone in an apartment endlessly visited by a very ugly cat — maybe a metaphor I didn’t grasp? She lives in L.A., works as an insurance agent and has a noisy and aggressive upstairs neighbor.

Yes, her life is limited. But she’s also choosing to let it, which immediately lost some of my sympathy.

She’s 50-ish, and her one great joy is dancing to disco; at a club she meets Arnold (John Turturro) and (why???) falls in love with him — despite a bunch of his backstories that felt so false to me. (He’d lost a huge amount of weight, he was a former Marine, his endlessly demanding adult daughters.)

His character is just so weird and opaque and needy and creepy — yet she keeps ripping off their clothes for lots of sex and nude scenes.

Hey, I’m all for lots of great sex at any age. But with that guy?

I also get the appeal of a regular woman in her 50s living a life that’s just OK, not really happy in any meaningful way. But I found her resolute cheerfulness and passivity extremely depressing.

Maybe that’s just me. From the very first scenes, Arnold struck me as someone to flee.

I won’t reveal the film’s final milquetoast “revenge” scene, but it felt so cliche and so pathetic — this is midlife “empowerment”?! —  I could barely wait to leave the theater, where a long line of people eagerly waited to enter.

Is there a film you loathe?


28 thoughts on ““Gloria”: Critics raved! Hated it

  1. The films I dislike tend to get filed under “gone and forgotten.” I do remember one from about 15 years ago – “Love Actually” that was really popular but that I found just boring and stupid. Hugh Grant playing his endlessly charming and boyish twit persona (this time as the UK’s PM) was enough to make me gag. Silly film. (Did I say that put loud, so to speak? 😉 )

  2. La La Land! The second it opened and showed all those people leaping out of their cars and dancing on an L.A. freeway, I knew I had a made a mistake. And it just got worse.

    Forrest Gump I didn’t like either.

  3. Inside Llewyn Davis, directed by the Coen Brothers. I adore Oscar Isaac, and I walked out. He plays the most hideously self-centred dismal character – why would I want to spend two hours with him?

  4. The last Mission Impossible..
    PAINFULLY long to accommodate chase scenes in the air, on land, on sea, underground in tunnels..broken glass, broken bones, broken hearts..guns, knives, plutonium, missiles…I went to appease my husband who made me a nice drink when we got home.
    Crazy, Rich Asians..
    Felt like a long Hallmark movie..really didn’t enjoy it. (Did not drag my husband along)

  5. I saw the title and wondered if this was in any way related to the song “Gloria” by Laura Branigan. Then I started reading the post and was like, “Seems unlikely.”

    There is one film I hate on, and I make every opportunity I can to remind people how terrible it is. The Friday the 13th remake from 2009 is terrible. Even the silliest or campiest of the original film series managed to keep faithful to the spirit of the franchise and to make Jason Voorhees, the villain of the series, as terrifying as possible. The remake…it felt like the director and writer were between girlfriends, so they tried to get as many shots of the actresses naked as possible, then they added swearing and crude humor to make it seem like a raunchy comedy movie, and when they saw it wasn’t funny, they added Jason Voorhees and called it a Friday the 13th remake. Definitely a low point in the series, courtesy of Michael Bay’s horror production company (because of course he’d take something popular from the 1980’s and find some way to ruin it on the big screen while making a ton of money for himself).

    Heck, this movie is so hated, a fan film called “Never Hike Alone” was made and posted on YouTube in response to the remake. It’s 45 minutes long, and is honestly one of the best Friday the 13th films I’ve ever seen, even if it’s not official. Does everything right where the remake goes wrong.

    Yes, I’m overly bitter and I realize it’s just a film. But given how beloved the franchise and its central character are to fans, it’s no wonder people are still upset about the remake. With any luck and with some legal issues surrounding the original Friday the 13th film being resolved, we might get a new film in the next few years like 2018’s Halloween: a return to what made the franchise great while eschewing all the silly stuff that bogged down the series after so many years, and making us forget about any bad remakes out there.

    Thank you for coming to my TED talk, I’ll stop ranting and see myself out.

    1. I’ve watched more horror/slasher/vampire/monster movies than I can count, and believe me, I can count. I have to say that any movie that begins with the word “Twilight” has got to have a place near the top of any horror fan’s all time worst list. Lovey kissy vampires that sparkle in the sunlight? OH PUH-LEEZE!

      1. Preaching to the choir, my man. I’ll take that parody thing they put out, “Vampires Suck” any day over Twilight. At least that’s only one film! And there’s something to enjoy in it too beyond handsome teenage boys whispering sweet nothings to teen girls.

      1. That’s comedy in my book.

        Rami, I spent two years steeped in stories and images of real violence for my first book and it traumatized me. I know some people LOOOOOVE horror-focused entertainment, but the world is way too full of it right now and I avoid it at all costs.

  6. I tried to watch Mary, Queen of Scots, and got about halfway through before Cathy and I pulled the plug. I love Elizabeth, all three of them, extraordinary women every one. They all have compelling stories that deserve to be told well. This one is not. The social sugarcoating, both stated and unstated, is nauseating. There are black courtiers, who were present earlier in England’s history (But not during the Tudor era) and homophobia wasn’t even a thing (Yeah right). It’s hard to believe I am saying this, but thank God for sexism and religious intolerance, otherwise we would be watching laughing children playing in the sand box. Our queens are both capable performers but, sadly, were not up to the challenge of rising up from the window dressing.
    If you really want to get a load of this great story, I suggest the 1971 version with Vanessa Redgrave as Mary and Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth.
    Please know, one and all, that I will still love you if you if you see it differently.

  7. i saw the original film, which i liked well enough, but it still had a lot of the same issues with wondering about her judgement and i didn’t hate it. i wouldn’t recommend it and would never watch it again, so that tells you something. i think my worst film ever was “even cowgirls get the blues,” and much of the audience walked out during the free screening i was attending. sometimes they are just dogs, but of course, one person’s dog is another’s darling at times.

      1. And I’d heard good things about the book so I thought I might enjoy the movie. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and I don’t think it lasted very long In theaters.

  8. A formative and very on brand experience in my youth: watching an anniversary re-release of the musical Grease and LOATHING the ending. So you’re telling me this smart, lovely girl decides to date a dude who treated her like garbage and assaulted her, all before going to college in a couple of months and likely breaking up anyway? I must have only been about 12 but I thought Sandy was an idiot.

    I also hated Inside Llewyn (sp?) Davis with a burning passion and to this day regret not walking out of Sucker Punch. Also formative because after that film I decided that life is too short to watch bad movies or finish awful books and have given myself permission to set aside pop culture that I don’t like–no matter what critics or tastemakers may say.

    1. Have never seen Grease — but agree! I remember Llewyn Davis — poor guy who plays the lead; that’s two films of his people here hate!

      The only film I’ve walked out of was The Exorcist, when i was 17. Far too scary and have never since tried again. I have, and love, the Mike Oldield vinyl of Tubular Bells (used for its soundtrack) and can enjoy it without a terrifying association.

      1. The Exorcist is scary as hell and one of my favorite films and novels. William Friedkin was very faithful to the book, which makes a big difference, and the performance of the cast was excellent. It still gives me the willies.
        If you had said you walked out of Nightmare on Elm Street I’d be laughing, the Exorcist is a good pick.

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