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Saturday, August 25, 2018


(Glenn Close & Jonathan Pryce)

Glenn Close gives a superb performance as the emotionally complex wife of a Nobel Prize winner travelling to Stockholm to receive his award. (8/10). Review by Patrick Compton

Glenn Close grabs our attention from the first frame of this drama and never lets go. Her hooded eyes suggest a mystery to be solved, and the audience, intrigued by what they believe she is withholding from them, is kept suitably tantalised to the end.

On the face of it Joan Castleman is the perfect partner for Nobel prizewinner Joseph (Jonathan Pryce), a writer who has finally earned the supreme reward for his fictional labours over four decades. She is the ever-present, supportive wife, hugging the shadows while he sucks up the limelight, yet she represents the foundation stone of his life, a fact that he is always ready to acknowledge.

There is, however, a quality of reserve in the loving wife’s demeanour that attracts our notice. She adores her aspirant writer son, David (Max Irons), and praises his writing, but David yearns for the praise of his father, something that is coldly withheld.

The invisible threads linking this couple and their son are slowly exposed once they have reached Stockholm where the fawning organising committee prepare Joseph and his fellow award winners for the grand ceremony.

This is the kind of film where the less said about the plot, the better. Spoilers are the curse of critics and their readers, and there are plenty of “reveals” in the final third of the movie.

It is appropriate, however, to note that Close’s performance is Oscar-worthy as the flash-backs (when she first met her husband) bring us ever closer to the key to their relationship, his literary career and her character. These scenes, played by Annie Starke and Harry Lloyd as the young couple, help us to understand why the narcissistic writer faces a gathering storm as his wife’s resilience is increasingly tested.

Pryce gives a fine performance as the writer with serious insecurities, and perhaps as a result of that, a perennially roving eye, while Christian Slater offers a sharp cameo as a constantly thwarted biographer who knows a thing or two about Joseph’s past.

The film is directed without fuss by Swede Bjorn Runge and Jane Anderson’s acute script is adapted from Meg Wolitzer’s novel.

The Wife opened at Gateway Mall on Friday, August 24, 2018. - Patrick Compton