The first time I witnessed John Cassavetes's greatness was when I saw Rosemary’s Baby for the first time. This time, it was not his acting that blew me away, but his writing and directing in Gloria. He’s a pioneer when it comes to American independent cinema and I definitely plan on seeking out more of his stuff now that I’ve seen what he can do behind the camera. Gloria is a very New York film but it captures areas that I haven’t seen much of in films. It’s a massive city and it really feels like you’re there amidst all the chaos.
The Dawns are a family living in New York City and the father Jack works as an accountant for the mob. We learn quickly that they are hiding out because Jack has also been working as an informant for the FBI. Out of nowhere, their neighbor Gloria knocks on the door asking for coffee. She used to date a mobster and the Dawn parents beg her to protect their kids but the daughter refuses to leave with anybody so Gloria snags Phil, the younger son and sets off while narrowly escaping the mob only to find more trouble. Gloria and Phil are about 40 years apart but they find a bond deep within themselves to survive the best they can.
Gloria is without a doubt one of the more unique NYC films I’ve ever seen due to it’s wacky pace and commitment to filming in very gritty locations. For that reason, I’m very interested in checking out Cassavetes's other directorial contributions. Gena Rowlands plays one of the most badass characters as she taunts mobsters with her gun in the middle of the streets. Gena became Gloria and sells every damn move she makes to perfection. She was married to Cassavetes for over thirty years up until his death in '89. I really enjoyed the journey in Gloria but the ending is truly rewarding and worth every second to get there because the relationship between Gloria and Phil becomes all too real.