This movie fights the power back and forth, and cuts and pastes the issues.
“The Glorias” tells the story of activist and journalist Gloria Steinem. It’s a movie that has fine talents like Julianne Moore and Alicia Vikander portraying her in sections of the movie, and they’re both very good as her, but it should have delivered on the true events, instead of glorifying them. Director Julie Taymor gives it an interesting visionary style, but her screenplay with help from Sarah Ruhl never really seems to take off.
Moore plays the old Gloria, Vikander plays the younger version, Lulu Wilson plays the teenage version, and Ryan Kira Armstrong plays the little tyke. It begins with her relationship with her parents-the fun-loving antiques dealer Leo (Timothy Hutton) and the more serious, former journalist Ruth (Enid Graham)-as they live and travel in a trailer, continues with her journalist career, and becomes involved with the Woman’s Rights Movement.
The visionary approach Taymor provides stretches from one style to the next. For instance, we see all the actresses portraying Gloria sitting on the bus together in black and white format. Moore talks to Vikander about her choices in her timeline as well as Wilson educating Armstrong on what goes on. Some scenes splice the color with black and white, like the bus ride being without color, while the outside is in full color. And there’s a red version of how Dorothy Gale traveled in the twister to Oz by imagining a moderator feeling threatened by Gloria’s fight.
The supporting cast also consists of Janelle Monae as Dorothy Pitman Hughes, the feminist and child-welfare advocate, who becomes Gloria’s friend. She has a few kids to take care of, and needs to be home more, so she asks her to continue the fight without her. Lorraine Toussaint plays activist and feminist Florence Kennedy, who often wears a cowboy outfit during her speeches and conversations. And Bette Midler (in a much better role than in “Coastal Elites) comes in as Bella Abzug, who joins Gloria and other feminists to found the National Women’s Political Caucus.
The performances from Moore and Vikander are both full of life and passion when they ease into the real-life figure (and she’s still alive for the record) with the right aging. And Wilson and Armstrong both play the much younger versions with adorable tastes and flexibilities. In fact, all these actresses are able to adapt to Gloria’s personalities and goals, and each actress is convincing when we see them educate each other about where they’re about to head into during the bus segments.
“The Glorias” wants to fight for women’s rights, but even if it runs for over 2 hours, it basically cuts and pastes the conflicts and arguments, as if the movie only cared about Gloria. She shouldn’t just be the star of the story, but also the realities around her and the people she came across with. This is a hit and miss with most of the hits coming from the four actresses portraying Gloria, and the misses coming from its narrative structure. You need to do more than fight the power. You need to ignite flames.
Available on Amazon Prime and Google Play