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The Wife

Glenn Close plays Joan Castleman, whose husband Joe (Jonathan Bryce) has just won the Nobel prize for literature. Joan is initially very happy, but the event causes the unfolding of circumstances that complicate the celebration. Bryce’s performance is very strong, but I think Close’s performance is amazing. There is a rage that simmers underneath as she navigates the various honors; her performance is nuanced, and she communicates so many different emotions through her eyes and facial muscles in a way that only a master of her art can do. There is a particularly powerful scene that includes Close and Christian Slater, who plays Joe’s biographer, that is exceptional and electric. I was less enamored with the story; some of the plotlines lacked depth. For example, the son David, played by Max Irons, has a very distant relationship with his father, but we don’t really get a lot of background about him; Irons essentially has the same expression during the entire film. The biographer suddenly appears, and there is clearly a relationship there, but we don’t get much insight into it. I also question the decision of the producers to create a trailer that rather gives away the main plot twist; I think I would have preferred not knowing what I learned in the trailer before seeing the film. I rate this a thumbs up movie primarily for the award-worthy performances. It is also a film that reflects clearly the adage that “behind every successful man, there is a woman”.

About Gary Burkholder

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