Following Rose Byrne‘s portrayal of Gloria Steinem in the limited series “Mrs. America,” the feminist icon gets the full biopic treatment with “The Glorias.” The latest film from visionary director Julie Taymor finds Academy Award winners Alicia Vikander and Julianne Moore portraying Steinem at different ages as she founds “Ms.” magazine and rises in prominence as a leader in the women’s liberation movement. The film, which co-stars Bette Midler, Janelle Monae, Timothy Hutton and Lorraine Toussaint, is free on Amazon Prime Video. But is it worth the watch? Let’s look into some critic reviews.
Most reviews praise the performances, even if the structure of the film is divisive. As one reviewer notes, “While Taymor’s film overall lacks fluidity, their performances do fit with surprising neatness into a single, steadily evolving characterization.” Some laud Moore for playing the most recognizable version of Steinem while others believe that “Vikander is the highlight here, presenting a version of Steinem that feels like less of an impression and more of an embodiment of the activist made whole.”The supporting cast is also getting raves, with “brilliant turns by Bette Midler as Bella Abzug, Janelle Monae as Dorothy Pitman Hughes, Kimberly Guerrero as Wilma Mankiller, and scene-stealing work by Lorraine Toussaint as the wonderfully outrageous Flo Kennedy.”
Numerous reviews take note of the film’s “imaginative storytelling structure,” and Taymor’s “using every tool at her disposal,” with the film not only charting Steinem’s life from an early age onward but having multiple Steinems in conversation with each other on a bus. One of the more mixed reviews notes that the film “meanders too much, dragging through the beginning and again toward the end.” Awards prospects aren’t clear right now, but even if the film isn’t quite getting universal acclaim, it would be foolish to completely dismiss Vikander and Moore’s chances, as somewhat recent Oscar winners. Read some critic reviews for “The Glorias” below.
Dan Mecca (The Film Stage): “Vikander is the highlight here, presenting a version of Steinem that feels like less of an impression and more of an embodiment of the activist made whole, a product of her own mistakes, her own experiences.”
Kate Erbland (IndieWire): “A straight line could be plotted through the feature which, despite its imaginative storytelling structure, still manages to hit all of the big moments in Steinem’s life. … The supporting cast alone could outfit 10 other biopics, including brilliant turns by Bette Midler as Bella Abzug, Janelle Monae as Dorothy Pitman Hughes, Kimberly Guerrero as Wilma Mankiller, and scene-stealing work by Lorraine Toussaint as the wonderfully outrageous Flo Kennedy.”
Katie Walsh (Los Angeles Times): “Using every tool at her disposal, Taymor crafts an epic tapestry of a remarkable life, paying tribute to the glorious Gloria Steinem.”
David Rooney (The Hollywood Reporter): “She is played as a child by Ryan Kiera Armstrong, as a young teenager by Lulu Wilson, in her twenties and thirties by Alicia Vikander and from her forties to the present by Julianne Moore. All four have lovely moments, and while Taymor’s film overall lacks fluidity, their performances do fit with surprising neatness into a single, steadily evolving characterization.”
Brian Lowry (CNN): “The key performances are strong, but director/co-writer Julie Taymor’s movie meanders too much, dragging through the beginning and again toward the end.”
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