The Wife

The Wife - Production & Publicity Stills 26.11.16. sc 48 STOCKHOLM CITY HALL- THE BLUE HALL Joe is giving a toast at the banquet PRODUCTION OFFICE Suite 6, 1st Floor, Alexander Stephen House, 91 Holmfauld Rd, Glasgow, G51 4RY Tel: 0141 428 3776 credit Graeme Hunter Pictures, Sunnybank Cottages. 117 Waterside Rd, Carmunnock, Glasgow. U.K. G76 9DU. t. 01416444564 m. 07811946280 e."
The Wife
Directed by Björn Runge
Starring Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, Christian Slater and Max Irons
In UK Cinemas September 28th, 2018

by Joanna Orland

Behind every great man is a great woman. The Wife takes this common reality to new heights as the film explores a prime example of a woman being behind her husband’s great success, receding into his shadow for all too many years.

Devoted wife Joan Castleman (Close) is a highly intelligent, talented writer who put her own career aside to raise a family and let her husband’s writing career take centre focus. Joe Castleman (Pryce) finds himself the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, in celebration of his life’s work. At first Joan is ecstatic alongside Joe, but as she’s pushed further into his shadow and portrayed as the subservient wife to her insufferable husband, forty years of resentment come bubbling to the surface.

Glenn Close gives a subtle yet powerful performance, her emotions skillfully restrained yet evident from merely her body language and facial expressions. The tension builds so quietly in this film through her escalating anger, it’s hard not to be thoroughly engaged with her plight, even with plot points being overtly foreshadowed with extreme predictability. Overlooked in Stockholm while her husband gets all of the publicity and praise, Joan is further isolated and ignored, with no one to confide in except for her husband’s unauthorized biographer Nathaniel Bone (Slater) who is all too eager to hear her truth.

In stark contrast to Close’s more reticent performance is Jonathan Pryce in a brash role, creating a character very difficult to have empathy for. Deep-rooted in misogyny and white male privilege, Joe Castleman is an unbearable man, and even his own wife is beginning to feel so after four decades of living in his shadow, having been beaten down by a literary industry stacked against women, by a society stacked against women, and by a marriage stacked against this particular woman.

As the plot is so predictable, The Wife is best viewed as a character study and commentary on the ingrained misogyny of our society, and how it’s evolved very minutely over the decades. It is a poignant portrayal with excellent performances and cutting dialogue. Most women will fully empathize with Joan, while many men will get a glimpse of what it feels like to be a smart, driven woman in a man’s world, and the oppressive frustration that this brings.


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