The Wife: Film Review - A Close Look At An Overlooked Better Half
Verdict: Glenn Close elevates this drama with her skilled performance.
Adapted from the 2003 novel of the same name by Meg Wolitzer, The Wife is directed by Björn Runge. The film has been nominated for the Best Actress at the Oscars and it’s one of the many Oscar releases coming to theaters in India. This film isn’t just a drama but a detailed character study that probes deeper into the life of a couple where the husband receives all the attention and the wife is often overlooked despite her contributions, which are not the garden variety contributions you may imagine.
What’s The Wife About:
When Joseph Castleman (Jonathan Pryce) receives a call from the Nobel committee, he insists that his wife, Joan (Glenn Close), hear the news with him. He is being awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his significant contributions to the field and it seems like his life couldn’t be happier, but this makes his wife question her choices in life. They fly to Sweden with their son (Max Irons), who is also an aspiring writer. But Joe’s success has also made Nathanial Bone (Christian Bone) even more intent on becoming his biographer and dig deeper to find juicy secrets about the Castlemans – secrets that might break apart their family.
The Wife is entirely driven by performances and it’s Glenn Close who stands out above the rest with her incredibly nuanced portrayal of a complicated woman. There are moments where she holds your attention even without saying much. The dialogue is used sparingly to highlight what the couple’s real problems are and it’s left up to you to see it unfold through telling scenes where the actors are given room to shine.
The rest of the cast also fit in perfectly in their roles. Jonathan Pryce also gives a noteworthy performance as a man who can be charming and hold the spotlight in front of others despite being full of flaws. Max Irons plays the son hungry for his father’s attention with conviction. Christian Slater is also excellent as the biographer, especially when it comes to masking his true intentions so it’s never clear whether he should be trusted or not. There are even a few flashbacks in the film which show the couple’s younger years and how they came together which feature Harry Lloyd as a younger Joe and Close’s daughter, Annie Starke, as a younger version of Joan, which adds more depth to the characters.
The Wife’s story takes a few interesting turns as well, and when the revelation comes, you may find yourself thinking about what you would do in a similar situation.
What Could’ve Been Better:
The film focuses on establishing characters which makes it a bit slow but as you get to know more about the characters, the pace helps you appreciate the little details that you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.
Why You Should Watch:
The Wife is a must-watch for Glenn Close. Even though she has been in the industry for more than 40 years, she has only received six other nominations and no wins at the Academy Awards. This film has already got Glenn Close a Golden Globe for Best Actress and she might finally win an Oscar for this role.