“I am a kingmaker.”
Based on the novel by Meg Wolitzer, The Wife tells the story of, Joan Castleman, whose husband, Joe, has been honored to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. As the celebrations commence, and the fans wait to congratulate him, Joan looks back at her past, slowly revealing the situations that led the couple to this point. In an effort to not give anything away, I’m going to make this review rather vague, because there are so many layers to this film. If you go into it not knowing much, this film will blow you away.
As I finished watching The Wife, I immediately wanted to go back to the beginning and watch it again. The story is amazing from the very start as it slowly builds to reveal many mysteries surrounding Joan and Joe’s marriage. Director Björn Runge, does the perfect job filming and framing these characters during these intense situations. The way the camera finds our characters during these scenes, make us feel the hurt and betrayal that Joan is feeling. Much of the characters’ beauty on the screen comes from the dialogue that is spoken to one another, the intimate conversations that these people share. The speech is so fluid and so organic. The actors, in my opinion, can truly play and elaborate with what their characters’ deep seeded feelings are at that very moment. Jane Anderson’s screenplay is the base for this beautiful piece of filmmaking, but Runge is the cherry on top. But in addition to all its wonder, it is the cast of The Wife that makes every scene truly worth watching.
Glenn Close, who plays our titular character, is absolutely breathtaking to watch. Every moment she is onscreen is pure cinematic gold. She is magnetic! Her beauty and talent exude through this character as the story unfolds. But you can’t have the wife without the prestigious Joe, who is played by Jonathan Pryce. The two of them do so well to represent this couple’s marriage as they both ache for the missing pieces in their lives. None of which, the other can truly fulfill. This constant aching in their relationship culminates in this couple’s heart-wrenching ending. The scenes with Close, whether she is by herself, acting alongside Pryce or onscreen son, David, played by Max Irons, shows acting at its finest.
Words escape me as I try to eloquently express how brilliant The Wife is. I am shaken to my core after seeing a film with subject matter such as this. Especially, subject matter that pertains to our current social climate. You may think to yourself that I am being overdramatic, but I do honestly tremble at the greatness that is Ms. Close in The Wife. No doubt this character of Joan will go down as one of the best roles of her career.
Directed by: Björn Runge
Screenplay by: Jane Anderson Novel by: Meg Wolitzer
Starring: Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, Max Irons, Annie Starke, Harry Lloyd, and Christian Slater