The Wife (2018)
It’s sentimental, ridiculously long and only occasionally funny
I thought the PHANTOM THREAD was the worst movie of the year then I saw this pile of poop. Wow. It is like we give two 70 year old actors a script and say "now try to out-act each other!" It is obviously a play since the sets never change. If you can't sleep ... rent it. Guaranteed. Do people really live like this? Never being happy and blowing every nuance of every word the other says out of proportion? Sad little failure of an acting exercise.
This is a masterpiece. Great casting especially Glenn Close as the more than loyal wife who finally finds her own voice. This is a statement of a marriage with true affection between the couple that implodes when he, after many years, receives public adulation and recognition and she remains "the wife". Script, direction and soundtrack exceptional. Highly recommended.
I thought The Wife (2017) was good however not great. The ensemble cast for the most part give fine performances. Glenn Close's performance as Joan Castleman is outstanding with a finely balanced display of emotions from a woman who has been cast in the shadow of her husband's greatness. However, Jonathan Price as the celebrated author Joseph Castleman is not as convincing and lacks the skill and power of an actor like Close. One wonders whether other actors (such as Sean Connery) might have been better suited to the task. The Castleman's son, David (Ben Irons), adds to the tensions within the family however more could have been made of this to expose the brutal behaviour of his father, Joseph. Christian Slater has a great time playing the sleazy would be biographer, Nathaniel Bone. Some of the cinematography is spectacular, especially the aerial shots of Stockholm and in particular the long and swooping camera shot of Glenn Close's face in the last moments of the movie in the hotel room. This movie is worth seeing for Close's performance alone. The storyline of a decades' long charade unraveling is captivating.
The Wife (2017) could be described as just another midlife self-discovery film, although with more originality and powerful acting than many. It can also be seen as a feminist essay about being true to oneself, a story of fabricated prestige in the literary world, and a tale of arrogant deceit that holds a marriage together. It's bigger triumph, however, lies in the way it blends all of these into a tense black comedic drama based on the extraordinary acting power of the duo Glen Close and Jonathan Price.The core plot is simple: a long-term marriage full of simmering tensions is brought to the boil when the husband wins the Nobel Prize for literature while 'the wife' looks on in smiling silence. Professor Joe Castleman has become accustomed to being feted for his literary greatness and has even been described as a reinventor of the novel form. The opening scenes are emotionally supercharged: a phone call from Norway in the middle of the night, joyful close-ups on Joe and Joan hearing the news, each processing it in completely different terms. Joe's arrogance is elevated by the news, while Joan's tolerance for his deceit, philandering, and belittling her as 'the wife who does not write' inches closer to breaking point.The news of his Prize triggers interest from a persistent freelance biographer who begins asking questions about Joan's own early writing career and the authorship of her husband's work. Marital tensions and professional conceits intersect and escalate as they approach the Nobel Prize ceremony, with their secret dangerously close to becoming public. Framed as a domestic relationships drama, the narrative moves slowly in a dialogue-rich film that records the personal journey of two intelligent and articulate people travelling in different directions.So much can be conveyed through a husband's use of the phrase "The Wife". It might be used as a derisive avatar or a cartoon nagger but not a respected equal. It is at this level that The Wifeexerts its power to show how patriarchy can entrap a willing victim until its innate fragility is exposed. Yet a simple exit from the marriage is not easy, as Joe and Joan really love each other. Too many dramas immerse such themes in clichés and hyperbole, but a tour de forceperformance by Glen Close takes this one to different level.Excellent filming, a clever script, uncluttered editing, and a nomination-worthy performance by Close gives this film a clear voice for the demographic it addresses. The feminist discourse for older women speaks in a different filmic language than what is current for others, so this is not a film for all. But its laser-precise message is targeted at everyone.