The Glorias (2020)

The Glorias (2020) Cover

I've never been so disappointed to be disappointed. The Glorias' dramatic reflection across the life of writer and activist Gloria Steinem is a poor one that fails to deliver on the width and breadth of an extraordinary life with all of the energy of a bad documentary. Despite the amazing source material, nonlinear storytelling, and the extraordinary talents of Julianne Moore, Bette Midler, and Janelle Monáe, The Glorias is little more than a bland checklist of Gloria Steinem facts.

Rather than following the life of Gloria Steinem from beginning to end, The Glorias spotlights significant moments in her life by shifting back and forth across various points in her life to attempt to create a pointillist portrait of who she is. It's an interesting direction for a biopic to take, and it allows the writer to pull from different elements of the life of Gloria to reflect on how she may have felt in retrospect if she could live moments in her past with the experience of her future. It's playful and has the potential to be quite refreshing if it weren't used to such bland effect.

I love Julianne Moore with a passion, but she is on a roll with movies that suck the life out of her performance. She does her best to carry The Glorias but just isn't quite able to do it. Surrounded by writing that drags and wooden delivery from the cast around her, the feel of the film just never comes together. The overall effect is that of a made for TV movie that is stitched together with an inconsistent tone in delivery.

The most disappointing thing here is that there was so much to work with. Gloria Steinem casts a long shadow as an advocate for women's rights but also as a powerful and moving writer. And that just doesn't come through, here. It's like a leech sucked away all the sincere joy, pain, and inspiration from every facet of its construction. I feel bad for mostly having negative things to say. The movie is fine.

Competently directed, written just well enough to avoid being painful, music that isn't unpleasant, and structured such that its complex narrative is coherent, The Glorias is objectively fine. But it should have been more than fine. It should have been good.

Final Verdict:A bland and forgettable look at an incredible writer who struggled for equality.