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film review

Julianne Moore stars as Gloria Steinem alongside Janelle Monáe as Dorothy Pitman Hughes in The Glorias.Courtesy of Roadside Attractions

  • The Glorias
  • Written and directed by Julie Taymor
  • Starring Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander and Janelle Monae
  • Classification R; 139 minutes


2 out of 4 stars

One of the greatest challenges of any biopic must surely be how to show the span and impact of a life, legendary or otherwise, within the length of a feature runtime. Clocking in at just shy of 2½ hours, Frida director Julie Taymor’s latest film, The Glorias, confronts this obstacle with a heavy hand that elides complexities in favour of an idealistic and, some might say, ironically depoliticized view of its focus – women’s rights activist and trailblazer Gloria Steinem.

Alicia Vikander plays Steinem in her younger years.Courtesy of Roadside Attractions

The Glorias is clearly aware of its timing within our current world and is quick to outline Steinem’s proximities with what would have then been referred to as “minority groups.” Where it fails, however, is in its decisions to gloss over these moments (and others) with an eye that is all too simplistic. The film’s internal motivations too often run toward the easy answers of Steinem’s impact rather than choosing to sit with the multiplicities (often intricate and sometimes difficult) that she and her work embodied.

Alongside a peculiar and overly saccharine intergenerational internal monologue that guides the film, The Glorias doesn’t seem to have learned from the important lessons evoked by its subject.

The Glorias is available digitally on-demand starting Oct. 2

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