The Wife (Björn Runge, 2017)
Glenn Close, Christian Slater, Max Irons; 100 min.
A wife questions her life choices as she travels to Stockholm with her husband, where he is slated to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature.
I thought this was predictable, written and made to conform to current politically correct thinking about the place of women. It is a 20 minute idea expanded to become a feature. There is a sub-plot about the son which doesn't add any quality to the movie. It's a woman's film, made for that audience, and women will, quite appropriately, really like it.
They did. Female critics thought that Close's performance was wonderful. It's not. It's good, but it's only in the political context that it can be as remarkable. I thought Jonathan Pryce was out of his depth. And the whole thing was an hour too long.
No one can do a cold stare like Glenn Close. Throughout her new film, The Wife, Close, in a career-defining and Oscar-worthy performance, often sits just outside the film’s focus; usually to the side of her novelist husband Joe Castleman (played with pure academic arrogance and perfection by Jonathan Pryce), aiming for invisibility but with a piercing glare. Is it resentment? Anger? Both? Erik Anderson.
The final plot turn can be read as a parable for patriarchal politics and the artist’s prestige: when people read novels, they are not merely responding to a text, they are consuming the artist’s prestige and reputation, which is itself a created performance. It is a smart, supremely watchable and entertaining film, and Close gives a wonderful star turn. Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian.
Garry Gillard | New: 25 November, 2018 | Now: 7 March, 2019