Fantasia Film Festival 2021: Ghosting Gloria

A film that gives itself almost too much to do, but a charming lead performance provides a much-needed base for a sometimes meandering plotline.

Synopsis: A single 30-year-old who has never had an orgasm, finally finds her ideal lover but the only caveat is that he doesn’t inhabit the world of the living.

Ghosting Gloria appears to be at least three ideas within the confines of one runtime. That abundance of ideas does overbalance at times, even if the transitions from one set of ideas to another are relatively smooth. What begins as a story of one lonely, unsatisfied woman transforms into something with much greater depth.

Initially a reasonably broad romantic comedy, Ghosting Gloria contains a multitude of hidden depths. Stefania Tortorella is magnetic as the titular Gloria, a woman who is keenly aware of how much sex other people are having. From her amorous neighbours who keep her awake at night, to the easy-going dating life of friend Sandra (Nenan Pelenur) and even the doctor she sees about her trouble sleeping – everyone but Gloria is enjoying a healthy sex life. After moving apartments, she soon finds that the previous inhabitant may not have moved on following his untimely death and also has needs to fulfil.

In moving from one section to another, there is some flirtation with a few of the ‘in love with a ghost’ tropes that I find personally difficult to stomach and some of the teasing, repetitive lead-up to that feels a little distasteful. However, it uses this device only as a means to swerve into a far more interesting and nuanced take that marks one of the film’s more unique high points. While the budget and technical constraints may not always match the ambition, that desire to elevate the material from more conventional rom-com territory is felt throughout.

There are a lot of dialogue-heavy scenes that can make the runtime feel its length at times and a tremendous amount of pontificating on the nature of love and relationships themselves so those who tire of that should be forewarned. That this is such a nuanced, sex-positive and non-idealistic romance is to be celebrated. The music is occasionally too intrusive on some two-handers, dulling the dialogue and making things feel off-balance. Nenan Pelenur gets some of the films best lines in a sparky performance, especially in a section where she reveals her unique strategy for hiring a mover. Stefania Tortorella’s performance shifts in and out of gear several times and her performance is good enough to sell the whole endeavour. Mauro Sarser’s role evolves throughout the film into something quite special.

Despite the need for so much character-based conversation, there are numerous visual gags that land well, including a The Omen reference that should raise a smile. Even throwaway moments have the texture of a great deal of thought and attention to bring them to life. While that does occasionally does divert from the central narrative, that attention to detail and desire to bring fun features into focus is to be appreciated. Moments where the camera lingers, in soft focus on faces as people converse lends the film its warmth and romance.

An inventive, charming and quirky work, brimming with enough ideas that you’ll likely forgive its more wordy sections and tendency to linger.

4 out of 5 stars

4 out of 5 stars

Ghosting Gloria screens as part of Fantasia Festival. The film is available on demand. Ticket information is available on the webpage.

Author: ScaredSheepless

Film and television fan, with a particular love for horror.

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