The Glorias: An artistic biopic with a wake-up call
Creating a movie is, without a doubt, a difficult exercise, especially, in the biopic genre, the exercise surely becomes intense. Stick close to your subject and the risk factors are less, trying to go a little here and there from the story, you risk alienating viewers who are coming to see their most loved person’s real life on the big screen.
So, what are the best biopics?
Well, in reality, the best biopics are those that strike a balance. The balance between the actual life of the subject, and how a particular filmmaker wants to put that real life on the big screen. And, this is where many people fell in love with Julie Taymor’s The Glorias, the biopic of journalist Gloria Steinem’s life and all her exceptional work, it covers all her great 80 years, yes, this can be said that it rarely revolves around all those special events in her life that made her what she is.
Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander along with all the stellar ensembles, The Glorias utilizes all of them so well!
It’s quite obvious that whenever a biopic comes out, it will surely have some element of the previous work done on it. All the early years are all about accomplishments and success, and this will be followed by a decline. The Glorias brings into play 4 different women who are playing Gloria Steinem at different stages of her life, everything from a noted writer to a female rights advocate. And, just a few of those alternate decisions could have made a difference. It includes everything from reflecting on things that could have gone differently to the encouragement of shading scenes and interactions.
Julie Taymor is the one you should meet if you are looking forward to meeting a risk-taker. Thanks to all her special decision-making skills, made her won the Tony when she reimagined The Lion King by Disney on stage. It is a completely different thing that it backfired when she worked on some controversial stage shows- Turn Off the Dark and Spider-Man.
While working for The Glorias, she comes up with a whole new concept in which a bus carries all of the Glorias characters including Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Lulu Wilson, Alicia Vikander, and Julianne Moore.
In between the re-enactments, all these four women can be seen conversing, and this offers a window into Steinem, which would surely not be possible in a traditional biopic.
Vikander is the one who has done the heaviest lifting in the Glorias. showcasing the struggles of a journalist against sexism, as well as the advancements taking place in activism during the tumultuous 1960s.
During the adversity, Vikander has done a fantastic job of showcasing Steinem, giving the baton off to Moore at some point in time, when Steinem turned into an elder statesperson.
Without being preachy, Glorias is educational
Even if you don’t know too much about Gloria Steinem, you can still watch The Glorias, and you will end up knowing all the social as well as political barriers she has been through. Taking the clue from Steinem, The Glorias leads with the help of its action whereas other screenplays will offer only the lectured reasons of why she has been considered worth making a biopic.
The more we realize what is Steinem all about, along with her forceful and unwanted push through inequalities, the more engrossed we feel about the feature film. By introducing expertly cast characters, Julie Taymor takes us into the real depths of the story.
Lorraine Toussaint, the force of nature as civil rights advocate Bette Midler along with Flo Kennedy, both regarded as a perfect choice to play the colorful Bella Abzug, call her a leader of the Women’s Movement also acquired a beautiful nickname as “Battling Bella.”
With the help of detours into the surreal, the director successfully showcased her historic actions, the existence of the bus is not the only flourish of Taymor.
Some key lessons for young activists
Check out these amazing lessons…
For those who think that people will change their way of living, knowing their way of living becomes more important.
At the beginning of the film, Gloria has recently come out of college and is exploring India. She receives an invitation from Indian women from one village to the other to bear witness to oppression as well as sexual violence stories of other women. As soon as they start their journey, the travel companion Gloria offers some advice- For those who think that people will change their way of living, knowing their way of living becomes more important.
Then, Gloria can be seen spending time with village women, knowing the realities of their lives. Later, the women are happy with this act and they are quite surprised to know that someone outside the village actually cares.
The truth, in the beginning, can piss you off, but later, it sets you free
From workplace harassment to lack of serious assignments and blatant sexism, Gloria feels highly frustrated after she launches her journalism career. One of the editors gives her the suggestion that girls do all the research work and men do all the writing, asking her to drop an email and later meet him at the hotel suite.
All these struggles are not only a call to cation for Gloria, they are also a wake-up call channeling anger into activism will make a difference, not the passive acceptance of all these unwanted things.
A white woman moving is not the movement, the movement is when so many people are moving together.
For Newsweek magazine, Gloria is forced to pose for a cover photo, she is rising as a star for the women’s movement becomes the reason for the same. She disagrees and refuses, and she tells that A white woman moving is not the movement, the movement is when so many people are moving together.
The path up is never a straight line, it is always a jagged line
This is in the final moments of the film when we come to know about Steinem’s personal reflections on Hillary Clinton’s crushing loss in the 2016 presidential election, she writes an article for the same using her computer.
That’s where she gives a reminder that the path up is never a straight line, it is always a jagged line- making the defeat of Clinton a little easier to digest.
What else could be there?
There could have been a lot to mull over. If the Glorias would have gone a little deeper into the psyche of Steinem to understand more about her passion and all the reasons for her activism. On the other hand, this could have been regarding the impact that her parents have on her personality. These are some of those highlights of the influences that became the reason to send Steinem down all those different paths. Moore and Vikander picked up these highlights and did all the needed analysis on this. Without ballooning to an extreme runtime, there is a lot to do for Gloria as there is plenty of ground to cover. It is full of great accomplishments. The biopic is surely a great wake-up call for activists.