Sunday, October 4, 2020

The Glorias

Adapted largely from Gloria Steinem's autobiography My Life on the Road, the latest from director Julie Taymor offers a look at the life and travels of Steinem through the performances of four different actresses. Following the film's initial look at Gloria's unorthodox childhood, where she is played by Ryan Kiera Armstrong and Lulu Wilson, Alicia Vikander then carries the role for the next hour exploring Gloria's travels and development both as a writer and activist before handing over the role to Julianne Moore for the film's final hour.

The structure of the film does allow the actresses to appear on-screen together at times as Gloria talks over decisions and regrets with both older and young versions of herself. This isn't the only unusual technique Traymor uses of the course of the film, but it is by far the most effective. Otherwise, The Glorias plays much like a standard biopic, albeit with several scenes shown out of order.

Given the times, especially following the recent death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the film, and it's subject matter, is certainly timely.

Despite its timeliness, The Glorias never reaches the heights of Traymor's best film, Across the Universe, whose structure allowed allowed for the more experimental film techniques and bizarre dream/fantasy sequences which here are at times problematic. Despite some creative choices which don't all pan out, the film gets strong performances from both Vikander and Moore as one of the most prominent leaders behind the feminist movement. Timothy Hutton also steals more than a few scenes and Gloria's father who passed his love for the road on to his daughter.

Steinem's life offers plenty of material for the film to cover. Traymor takes a scattershot approach, offering glimpses throughout the woman's life in how she grew into the activist she is most remembered for (which is where Moore's version of the character really takes over the film). The choices leave multiple opportunities to dig a bit deeper into aspects of Steinem's life untapped as it races towards the next memory or event to explore. The Glorias hits the high notes giving a face (actually four of them) to a name most know, although we may not learn as much about Gloria Steinem as we'd like.
  • Title: The Glorias
  • IMDb: link

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