Movie Review: The Glorias18th October 2020
The post-Oscar projects Julianne Moore has taken often surprise me. It feels like a rather dire time in a handful of years that should reap mainstream rewards, but aside from an appearance in Kingsman: The Golden Circle and the already forgotten Suburbicon, she hasn’t done much else. She and four other actors attempt to bring life to the trailblazing feminist, Gloria Steinman. A journalist whose early work exposed the working conditions of Playboy, and whose later pioneering led to a women’s revolution, The Glorias is a biopic of her life, impact, and what she strived to achieve throughout her career and dedication to activism.
Julie Taymor’s direction here is nothing short of underwhelming. It feels very cheap and lazy, shot choices and editing tricks that are poorly presented and appear to be of cheap production value. Clunky transitions are frequent, within the first twelve minutes we’ve rattled through three completely different periods of Steinem’s life, most of it rather uninteresting. It’s biopic cannon fodder, everything you would expect to be in there is checked off immediately. Scenes of conversation that feel like they’re missing entirely, the narrative structure is all over the place. It’s not difficult to follow, just in-between clunky guitar pangs and horribly glazed-over direction, there’s little to care for. Quick cuts, blurry images, and a blending of reality and imagination that feels far too frequent. Even if it were handled correctly, I doubt it’d improve the quality of performances or script.
It should be no surprise that the writing is as bad as the visions of the director. No memorable lines or moments, it all just flashes by in a film where the running time cannot justify itself. That’s not to say there aren’t enjoyable moments scattered throughout. An opening half that doesn’t do all that much, laying the groundworks for a film that feels about an hour too long. Its moments of broader discussion are handled well, a lucky break for a film that flounders and fumbles its way through the life of an incredibly interesting individual.
Looking to champion a woman who has dedicated her life to righteous justice, equality, and journalism, The Glorias simply fails to do so. It’s no A Private War, that’s for sure, lacking both the eloquence and creativity found in that piece from a couple years ago. The story of a trailblazer, not even my love for journalism can win me over entirely with this one. Steinman isn’t quite a household name over here in the United Kingdom, and it’s a shame that The Glorias can’t tell her life story better. It’s one worth articulating, but it needs better coverage than this. For now, you’d be better off reading her articles, or her Wikipedia page.