never married, over forty, a little bitter

the long fight

How did writer-director Sebastian Lelio, 39, come to tell the story of this older woman?

“I’ve seen this in many women of that age,” he said during a recent phone conversation. “Despite what anyone says, they are not at home. They are willing to fight to be alive. I think that’s very moving.”

The heroine of Chilean director Sebastián Lelio’s exuberant semi-comedy Gloria is right in the middle of the fiftysomething version of that in-between. We join her story already in progress but get the idea pretty quickly: Gloria (Paulina García) has been divorced for 13 years and would, quite simply, like to meet a guy. The movie opens at a dance club filled with people around her age. The women are decked out in spindly high heels and sparkly dresses that stop just short of trying too hard. The men are neatly dressed in jackets, though somehow they all look a little more shopworn, maybe a little less moisturized, than the women do. And still, the women want them.

García, who’s in every scene of the film, wonderfully conveys (even from behind her enormous “Tootsie” glasses) a woman who hasn’t yet lost her optimism, despite many setbacks. When she doesn’t know what to say, she laughs; when she tries something new (in this case, bungee jumping) she beams, opening her arms to the sky. We travel her life with her, and start carrying what she carries: a bad marriage, an emptiness where her children used to be, a neighbor who frighteningly shouts at night, a man who’ll give himself to her in bed, but not in life. And by the end, we dance with her, living in the moment as she does, not looking ahead to life’s next turn.


Although I don’t agree with all of it, this article in Psychology Today does a decent job of outlining many of the challenges in dating today:

Once again, however, I disagree with this statement (and am perturbed it is now making its way into Psychology Today):

“Stop lamenting men. We are what we are and besides you were too back when it was your world and you could flick us away when we bored you.”

I don’t believe the dating world was ever my oyster. Basically, my thoughts are this: since everyone is available in their early twenties, both men and women have lots of options. Both men and women reject and get rejected at that age, probably in equal measure. Both learn through these experiences and hopefully come out wiser from them by the time they are in their thirties. Only men, however, are seen (at least by proponents of this theory) as being able to benefit from this greater wisdom and sensitivity. Women, in this scenario, are already washed up by twenty-five; they “had their chance” and blew it.

I do agree with much of his advice at the end of the article, although, for the record, I have hobbies, demand little in the way of time from men I date, and hope to find someone with whom I can work on a big goal/ project for the future. I have to say, none of that has helped.