Gloria sings along to oldies on the car radio. Everybody does—especially in movies—but for Gloria, a divorced lady nearing 60, singing along seems like an especially cherished private celebration. The rest of her life is less well-ordered than those well-crafted pop songs: Her grown kids are kind but aloof; her new romantic relationship is mystifying; and this hairless cat keeps showing up in her apartment. Gloria, Chile’s official submission to the Academy Awards (it didn’t get nominated), is the film that comes out of this very specific character, and it succeeds because of its well-chosen vignettes and a remarkable lead performance.
Paulina García—a veteran of Chilean television—plays the title role, and she builds a small masterpiece out of Gloria’s behavioral tics.