The Wife: Confessions of a Neglected Wife
In The Wife, Glenn Close plays Joan Castleman, the wife of a famous author, Joe Castleman. As Joan goes to Stockholm with her husband who has received a prestigious writing award, she begins to question her life choices. Much more than just a conventional drama, The Wife is actually an interesting case study in how the female of a spouse could really be the brains of the partnership, but remains, nonetheless, neglected. Featuring a terrific and engaging performance (of course) from Glenn Close, with also an excellent performance by Jonathan Pryce, as the husband, this film, which could have potentially been schmaltzy, but actually turns out to be really, really good.
The Wife sets itself apart immediately from when the film opens, and we’re introduced to our characters in bed. The movie flashes back constantly to scenesJoe and Joan when they were younger, first met, and fell in love. These scenes are meant to establish the characters’ relationship, as well as, clueing the audience in on what’s really going on. I think the flashback scenes did their job well in establishing who Joan and Joe were, and the problems they’ve had. It really made the characters more realistic. One of the things that really impressed me the most about this film was tone-wise, being it’s both cheery and rather gloomy all at the same time, just like real life itself can sometimes be.
Glenn Close is fascinatingly great in the title role. In some ways, it almost feels like this role has been a culmination of her entire career. Her performance is not over the top or too much, but is rather restrained and feels refined. When she keeps bickering with her husband, it feels genuine. Joan sticks behind her husband, through and through. She even defends him from a hack biographer played by Christian Slater. It’s fantastic. I also thought Jonathan Pryce was equally excellent as the husband, Joe, a jolly, if not inept writer who constantly argues with his son, David (Max Irons), which reveals his true character. The couple have splendid back and forth conversations with each other.
The film is finely shot with some gorgeous sets. The music is good, if not exactly memorable, with a lot of it seeming to be based off of classical music. What I liked about the film is how quiet it is. It’s not some big dramatic work. Instead, it’s a more adult film where everything is downplayed and this strikes the right tone. I would really appreciate seeing more films of this kind.
The Wife is a well done drama. If Glenn Close doesn’t finally win an Oscar or big award for her performance, that’s okay. I appreciate her work now more than ever. Plus, the film doesn’t let her down and helps support her performance. It’s a very good, and highly recommended film.
Now playing in Hanover at the Nugget Theater: Monday - Thursday 4:30 and 7:00 PM, Friday and Saturday 4:30 and 9:15 PM, and Sunday, 4:30 PM.