FILM THE GLORIAS (MOVIE REVIEW)

THE GLORIAS (MOVIE REVIEW)

The Glorias movie poster

The Glorias is a biopic of the feminist activist Gloria Steinem. Director Julie Taymor based the movie on Steinem’s book, My Life on the Road. The movie stars Julianne Moore as Steinem, with Alicia Vikander portraying a younger Steinem, from ages 20 to 40. Timothy Hutton, Lorraine Toussaint, Janelle Monáe, and Bette Midler complete the cast.

I Me Mine

Julianne Moore as Gloria Steinem in The Glorias.

Obviously Gloria Steinem is the main character of the story. What is unique is not that the movie presents Steinem at different ages but that the various Glorias actually ‘interact’ with each other in the journey. What is interesting is how she changes her attitudes and opinions as she grows older. For example, her teenage self is adamant that she will get married with children. To which the older Gloria responds with a rueful look. All of which is realistic and natural. Though, in reality, Steinem was married to David Bale – actor Christian Bale’s father – from 2000 to 2003.

Herstory

To be honest, I only became familiar with Steinem due to the Mrs. America TV series about the women’s liberation movement and the battle to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. However, Mrs America emphasised more the role of Phyllis Schlafly in blocking the ratification of the ERA. Steinem is more of a supporting character in Mrs. America.

Here, of course, Steinem is front and centre. Thus, we get a lot of her backstory. Her relationship with her parents, her difficulties in being taken seriously as a journalist. And of course, the tremendous success she achieved as a leader in the women’s movement.

Surrealistic backdrops

Alicia Vikander and Julianne Moore both as Gloria Steinem in The Glorias

Director Taymor keeps the narrative entertaining by employing specially designed sets and effects to allow the visual medium to depict themes. There is a notable example of the young Gloria walking on a road that becomes a treadmill. Which is an excellent reflection of the Life on the Road motif.

The Glorias is a feel good well-deserved tribute to Steinem. The real Gloria appears at the very end – now in her late 80s – doing what she does best – fighting for human rights at the Women’s March at the beginning of Trump’s presidency. Inspiring indeed.

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