Glenn Close is perfectly cast in tense black comedy The Wifeby Noelle McCarthy
Glenn Close shines in The Wife, an adaptation of Meg Wolitzer's novel.
As the story moves to Sweden, the secret at the heart of the Castleman marriage is revealed early. Through flashbacks (young Joan is played by Close’s real-life daughter, Annie Starke, channelling college-era Sylvia Plath with her blonde coif) we discover that Joe is telling the truth when he frequently, publicly, declares he would be nothing without Joan. The better writer of the two, Joan has effectively decided to publish under her husband’s name in order to circumvent the sexist standards of the time.
Glenn Close is perfectly cast. One of cinema’s great Sphinxes, she glides smoothly through the crush of her husband’s acolytes, as the well-meant humiliations — “Tell me about yourself. Do you have an occupation?” — pile up. As Joe prepares to receive the greatest writing prize in the world, however, Joan starts to buckle under the weight of her own subterfuge. Watching the mix of pride, sorrow and tightly controlled rage that ripples across her face, sitting in the darkness of the auditorium as her husband receives that which is rightfully hers, one is reminded of Close’s brilliant track record of embodying intelligent, furious women, all the way back to Fatal Attraction and Dangerous Liaisons. It’s a performance already generating Oscar buzz.
Pryce, all Brooklyn vowels and twitchy, cerebral machismo, evokes Roth, Rushdie and Amis — all of the big-hitters of the literary boys club. His self-deprecating stories are met with howls of laughter, his philandering overlooked.
The Wife is billed as a black comedy and there are plenty of knowing winks, but the tension at the heart of it feels as serious as cancer. A woman throttles her own ambition so that her husband can feel validated and she can feel slightly less thwarted, and this dark family secret is locked up for the sake of pragmatism — until, inevitably, it begins to seep out, thanks here to Christian Slater’s oleaginous literary journalist. But there’s a curvy twist to Mrs Castleman’s self-sacrifice, a lurking reality she is too smart not to have seen coming: the collective enterprise has been corroded by ego. The sting is all the sharper for having been — at least partially — self-inflicted.
The Wife, directed by Bjorn Runge, opens August 2.
This article was first published in the July - August 2018 issue of Metro.
It doesn’t say much, but there is something hypnotic in Dustin Feneley’s crowdfunded debut feature Stray.Read more
A National Party insider has told RNZ that Simon Bridges amended his personal electoral donation return to remove two donations totalling $24,000.Read more
The MP is denying he was responsible.Read more
In a reality-television landscape riven with cruelty, the popular Bake Off competition is actually nice to people.Read more
Guy Fawkes might only come around once a year, but the sale of fireworks means noisy nights for weeks after November 5.Read more
Investigative journalist Nicky Hager reveals a culture of impunity and cover-ups within the New Zealand Defence Force.Read more
The US is more divided than ever with the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh. The mid-term elections loom as the next round of bipartisan warfare.Read more
Like Boris Berezovsky and Alexander Litvinenko, many opponents of Vladimir Putin have died in strange circumstances in Britain.Read more