Film re­view

An award-wor­thy movie out­ing for Glenn Close and a binge watch to stay home for.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - ON SCREEN - With KATE RODGER

Six nom­i­na­tions and yet to get a win – it de­fies be­lief that a cin­e­matic CV as im­pres­sive as the one Glenn Close (Fa­tal At­trac­tion/The Big Chill) has amassed over her il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer is still with­out an Os­car. Let’s hope she tempts the Academy yet again with her out­ing in The Wife, be­cause she most cer­tainly de­serves to.

Game of Thrones fans can play “first per­son to spot High Spar­row” and then col­lec­tively yell, “By crikey is that the dodgy brother of Mother of Dragons?!” as Bri­tish ac­tors Jonathan Pryce and Harry Lloyd play the same man here. But make no mis­take, this is The Wife, and this film be­longs to Glenn Close.

Novelist of note Meg Wolitzer penned the book the film is based on and brings a po­tent fe­male voice to a story pub­lished in 2003 but very much set in the early 1990s. And with Close the mas­ter and com­man­der from go to whoa here, that voice is res­o­nant, pow­er­ful and un­for­get­table.

She plays Joan Castle­man, the wife of an ac­claimed Amer­i­can au­thor, Joe Castle­man – so ac­claimed he is about to be awarded the No­bel Prize for Lit­er­a­ture. We meet them the day they find out about his mo­men­tous achieve­ment, the story fol­low­ing them to Stock­holm for the award cer­e­mony, their son David in tow.

Joe is treated like roy­alty and in re­turn he is both mag­nan­i­mous and serenely ar­ro­gant in the same breath. It’s clear he has lived for this moment and he’s go­ing to en­joy it. As the fam­ily nav­i­gates all their very pub­lic No­bel du­ties, in pri­vate the wheels are slowly com­ing off. Biog­ra­pher Nathaniel Bone (Chris­tian Slater) has fol­lowed them to Stock­holm, sniff­ing out a far big­ger story than the Castle­mans could ever imag­ine, and he plants seeds in Joan’s mind not even she can ig­nore.

A seem­ingly sim­ple premise, it’s a story with an im­me­di­ate nour­ish­ing depth, kin­dred seas rich in dark and surg­ing un­der­cur­rents of jeal­ousy, in­ad­e­quacy, rage and de­cep­tion. The re­veals are mea­sured and de­lib­er­ate, each note de­liv­ered with in­tent, as Joan’s very pub­lic life as the du­ti­ful wife is peeled back be­fore our eyes, noth­ing as we might ex­pect.

As Joe, Pryce is a wor­thy foil for Close. There is an ex­traor­di­nary in­ti­macy and vul­ner­a­bil­ity to their mar­riage and both per­form­ers de­liver on the prom­ise of that re­la­tion­ship el­e­gantly and haunt­ingly. Adding fuel to the sim­mer­ing fire, Joe’s frayed and frac­tious en­coun­ters with his son David (Max Irons), him­self a bud­ding writer, is another bomb wait­ing to go off.

If you like your sto­ries told spar­ingly, the small mo­ments mined for max­i­mum im­pact as much as the big ones, then The Wife will more than fit the bill. Glenn Close is mag­nif­i­cent and she has a big screen ve­hi­cle here which per­fectly show­cases that. If you’re a fan, you’d be mad to miss it.

The Wife Star­ring Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce and Chris­tian Slater. Di­rected by Björn Runge.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.