The Glorias

The Glorias, directed by Julie Taymor, is based on Gloria Steinem’s 2015 autobiography My Life on the Road. The plural indicates the four periods of her life, where she is played by different actresses: Ryan Kira Armstrong as a 6-year-old, Lulu Wilson as a 12-year-old, Alicia Vikander from age 20, Julianne Moore from age 40. The four Glorias often talk to each other on a magical bus where they are photographed in Black and White, while the outside world zooms by in color.

The Glorias (c) DanMcFadden
The Glorias (c) DanMcFadden-Roadsice Attractions

Earlier this year I had been fascinated by the TV series Mrs. America, I had interviewed many of the actors and researched the real people they portrayed: Tracey Ullman as Bette Friedan, Uzo Aduba as Shirley Chisholm, Margo Martindale as Bella Abzug, Rose Byrne as Gloria Steinem, etc.

I had watched the play Gloria: A Life that aired in June on PBS, where Christine Lahti as Gloria says, “I am living the unlived life of my mother,” and Steinem herself comes on stage at the end of the live performance and takes questions from the audience.

When I interviewed Julianne Moore last year, I asked her about Gloria Steinem and she said: “She’s a fascinating, wonderful, incredible person, a true leader and a real inspiration. When you realize how she has led with such compassion and tolerance and how consistent she’s been in her messaging all of these years, it’s a real standard for all of us on how to live.”

Alicia Vikander and Janelle Monáe

Alicia Vikander and Janelle Monáe (c) Roadside Attractions

I had asked Janelle Monáe about Dorothy Pitman Hughes and Bette Midler about Bella Abzug. So I loved the opportunity to learn more about these amazing feminists from watching The Glorias, as well as others, like Dolores Huerta (Monica Sanchez), a Catholic mother of 11 children who supported women’s reproductive rights, Cherokee Chief Wilma Mankiller (Kimberly Guerrero), whose last name meant White Men Killer, lawyer Flo Kennedy (Lorraine Toussant), who said, “Organize, don’t agonize.”

Elisa Leonelli, Julianne Moore
Elisa Leonelli, Julianne Moore (c) HFPA 1999

And then to interview Julianne Moore again, plus Alicia Vikander, director Julie Taymor and Gloria Steinem herself, was very inspirational.

Steinem wrote, “I learned feminism mostly from black women who were older and active earlier than I, like the great Florynce Kennedy, I hope viewers will abandon the inaccurate image of white feminism. In the last presidential election, fifty-one percent of white women voted for Donald Trump, and ninety-six percent of black women voted for Hillary Clinton.”

After the sad passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Steinem wrote on her Facebook page what RBG said, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

The Glorias will air on Amazon Prime Video as of September 30.

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