Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Wife

Starring: Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, Christian Slater
Director: Björn Runge
Running Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Rating: R

"How many people could possibly be going to see 'The Wife' starring Glenn Close?" I joked to my mom, after she suggested we go purchase our tickets early to avoid the crowd. I was stunned to walk into a packed theatre - mostly older women - but packed, nonetheless. I'd been hearing buzz about Close's performance in this film, how it could finally win her her first Oscar after 6 nominations. Is this my favorite Glenn Close role? No. Will it earn her an Oscar? Possibly, but probably not. But was her portrayal of a resentful wife, that quietly built throughout the 1 hour and 40 minutes a privilege to watch? Yes. Close is one of our best today, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how strong of a performance Jonathan Pryce delivered. In fact, he may have shown her up.

Close plays Joan Castleman, wife and backbone to Joe, a novelist who has just learned that he won the Nobel Prize in literature. We share in their celebration, but can't help but notice a slight coldness develop in Joan. Their son David is an aspiring writer, and quite troubled. He seeks approval and acknowledgement from his father, but his requests fall on deaf ears. The three of them bicker their way to Stockholm for the Nobel ceremony, where we learn that Joe and Joan's seemingly perfect marriage is not quite what it seems.

We learn even more about the characters in flashbacks, where young Joan is played by Close's daughter in real life. This helps us understand how a lifetime of resentment was built up. I must acknowledge my love of Jonathan Pryce, whom I have adored since I saw him in the film "Evita". He has the juicier role here, and his character is more polarizing, which is why it was easy for him to almost steal the show from Close. But the Academy loves Glenn Close (not enough, apparently) and her emotional, wordless stare that indicates something more is happening below the surface will be enough to seal her a nomination. An Oscar though? I'm just not sure.

The reveal of the main conflict took me by surprise, and I hesitate to divulge much more information, so as to not ruin it for you readers! The less you know about this film going in, the better. I encourage you to not watch the trailer, to avoid any spoilers. I knew nothing about the story line, and every twist and turn kept me fully engaged. I loved this film.

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