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Gloria Bell (Blu-ray Review)

Lionsgate will be releasing Sebastian Lelio’s film Gloria Bell, starring Julianne Moore on Blu-ray, coming June 11th. Lelio’s film is a reimagining of his original film Gloria from 2013. Gloria Bell premiered at the 2018 Toronto International film festival and was followed by a small release this past March. It actually held the distinction of having the highest per-theater average in grosses in 2019 for any film not named Captain Marvel during that weekend (Albeit in 5 theaters). This Blu-ray will come with a digital copy and a making of featurette. Pre-order now using the link below.

Film 

A free-spirited divorcee spends her nights on the dance floor, joyfully letting loose at clubs around Los Angeles. She soon finds herself thrust into an unexpected new romance, filled with the joys of budding love and the complications of dating.

Gloria Bell is an obvious star drama and delivers solid results with a pretty neat supporting cast. Julianne Moore is every reason you’d pick up this film and she delivers in one of her more unique performances I’ve ever seen. Moore’s ability to convey a sense of loneliness and personal struggles with finding her next avenue in life are shown in more than just the details of the script. The combination of her and the work of director Sebastian Lelio really hit home the feeling from the screen to the viewer while watching the events of the film unfold.

Lelio’s film really questions what is out their for a person in their 50s trying to move on from a divorce and dealing with modern children that she really no longer has control over. What we really feel hit is that she’s been struggling in this search for about 11 years. Its compounded in sequences of living in an apartment with a neighbor struggling with is mental health that no one will do anything about and a quite jarring scene of trying to converse at the table with her song (Michael Cera) as he constantly diverts his attention from her to his phone. She has some relations with her daughter, but she is moving to Sweden on a whim.

If there is a Scottie Pippen to her Michael Jordan its John Turturro who plays the man she dates during this segment of Gloria’s life we are witness to in this movie. Its an enjoyable and confused relationship from both angles. You really are pushed into a corner at one point to agree with Gloria for going back to him after a psychotic burst of lunatic behavior from him following a break up. Gloria is free, but she really isn’t seeking that and doesn’t want to be. Just everyone in her life is either going away or is oblivious for her wanting something further.

Gloria Bell is a solid drama and something we have to look for small release and straight to video distribution to get anymore. I don’t know that its a recommend beyond being someone who thoroughly enjoys the talents of Julianne Moore (Which I do). In that regard it completely delivers and is a solid escape from all the fantastical things which tend to take up our viewing landscape.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Gloria Bell comes with a solid transfer to Blu-ray. It has a more “shot on digital” look to it, but plays decently with nice filtered scenes and pretty sharp image overall. Its not the most impressive looking, but its easily above average and has some pretty good overall attention to detail.

Depth:  Depth of field is pretty decent, proving moreso valuable in interiror scenes, particularly the casino scenes in Vegas. Motion is cinematic and smooth with minimal blur/jitter issues on rapid motions.

Black Levels: Blacks are in the sort of lighter, grayer look on the darkness. There is a hair of crush in a few areas. Details hold pretty strong for the most part.

Color Reproduction: Colors prove their strongest when in club sequences with a purple/blue filter. There are a lot of natural looking scenes with more static wall colors, background furniture and the like. Paint from the paint pellets actually pop pretty effectively when unleashed.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures a little more smooth but decently discernible in close up and medium shots.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

Audio 

Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: Gloria Bell features a rock solid 5.1 track that pretty much is the best you could expect from this movie. We have a more dialogue driven, but often quiet moments drama and it gets all that right. There are some good weaves in the mix, like with the shouting neighbor and startling banging on the door. Music in the club sequences fill out probably the best. Overall, a solid, above average experience for a movie that’s not out to set your home theater ablaze.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Mainly the bumps in the film come from car/home doors shutting, paintball guns firing and the music beats at the club.

Surround Sound Presentation: This is a mostly front focused track but does feature some good accompaniment and additions from the rear. Music filters through the house to keep things loud and present while ambient outdoor noises pop in from time to time to help fill an environment.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp, at times feeling small and intimate in a really fine way.

Extras 

Gloria Bell comes with a digital copy of the film.

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Sebastián Lelio 

An Extraordinary Woman: Making Gloria Bell (HD, 10:30) – A nice little featurette that is a bit paint by numbers in its interview questions as it sort of goes one by one on the people involved and gets everyone’s opinions on them. Moore and the director of course dive in a bit more on the script, narrative and character discussion, but everyone else is in the more colorful “It was great to work with _____” variety.

Summary 

Gloria Bell is a solid star showcase for acting legend Julianne Moore that features a solid supporting cast. Lionsgate’s Blu-ray release of the film features an equally solid presentation with some nice bonus features to accompany it. This one feels more of the recommend for a rental variety, but if you’re looking to own, I’m sure the price will drop to a solid $9.99 in the near future and be worth picking up.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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