GLO­RIA (1980)

Pasatiempo - - RANDOM ACTS -

She knocks on the neigh­bors’ door for a cup of sugar, and winds up with one of their kids, Puerto Ri­can tyke Phil (John Adames) when the rest of the fam­ily is gunned down by the mob. She’s a for­mer gang­ster’s moll, a tough-talk­ing broad, a pis­tol-packin’ mama, and def­i­nitely not the moth­erly type. She’s Glo­ria, and she’s played by the great Gena Row­lands, wife and muse of di­rec­tor John Cas­savetes, the Ge­orge Washington of the Amer­i­can in­de­pen­dent film move­ment. Row­lands earned her sec­ond Best Ac­tress Os­car nom­i­na­tion for this role. There’s a notebook full of in­crim­i­nat­ing in­for­ma­tion about the Mafia, an odd-cou­ple Madonna and child re­la­tion­ship, and a des­per­ate flight from an in­escapable fate. Cas­savetes wrote the script as a com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle to raise money for his own projects, but un­der stu­dio pres­sure he wound up di­rect­ing it and cast­ing Row­lands in the ti­tle role. The plot has a fa­mil­iar ring, but the act­ing, as usual in his films, lifts it into spe­cial ter­ri­tory, and the di­rec­tor and star keep things nicely off-bal­ance. — J.R.

Drama, 123 min­utes, rated PG, 2 p.m. Fri­day, Oct. 16, Vi­o­let Crown, 3 chiles

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