In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend, Lady Sarah, governs the country in her stead. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.
Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands' criminal activities, take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.
Behind any great man, there's always a greater woman - and you're about to meet her. Joan Castleman (Glenn Close): a highly intelligent and still-striking beauty - the perfect devoted wife. Forty years spent sacrificing her own talent, dreams and ambitions to fan the flames of her charismatic husband Joe (Jonathan Pryce) and his skyrocketing literary career. Ignoring his infidelities and excuses because of his "art" with grace and humour. Their fateful pact has built a marriage upon uneven compromises. And Joan's reached her breaking point. On the eve of Joe's Nobel Prize for Literature, the crown jewel in a spectacular body of work, Joan's coup de grace is to confront the biggest sacrifice of her life and secret of his career.Written by
The Wife premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival on 12 September 2017. See more »
A shot from the bathroom in Grand Hotel in Stockholm shows an outlet of a type that is not used in Sweden. See more »
I can't do it anymore, Joe. I can't do it. I can't take it. I can't take the humiliation of holding your coat and arranging your pills and picking the crumbs out of your beard and being shoved aside with all the other wives to talk about some goddamn shopping trip while you, while you say to all the, the gathering sycophants that your wife doesn't write! Your wife, who just won the Nobel Prize!
So, if I'm such an insensitive and talentless fucking piece of shit, why the fuck did you marry me?
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Intense character study with plot twists along the way
"The Wife" (2017 release; 100 min.) brings the story of an elder couple, Joe and Joan. As the movie opens, it is "Connecticut 1992", and the couple is asleep, only to be woken up by an early morning phone call. It is the Nobel Academy, informing Joe that he has won the Nobel Price for Literature. Joe and Joan are overjoyed, and celebrate. Before we know it, they and grown-up son David, a wanna-be writer himself, are off to Stockholm for the award ceremony. On the plane, Joe and Joan are approached by Nathaniel, who hopes to become Joe's official biographer. Upon arriving in Stockholm, Joan thinks back how they met at Smith College in 1958... At the point we're less than 15 min. into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: the movie is directed by Swedish director Bjoen Runge, pretty much an unknown talent on this side of the ocean. Here he brings the book of the same name by Meg Wolitzer to the big screen. I have not read the book and hence cannot comment how faithful the film remains to the book. This is a very plot-heavy movie, so I am not going to say anything more about that. I will say that the movie succeeds because of its two lead performances. Glenn Close is outstanding as Joan, and frankly so is Jonathan Pryce as Joe. Christian Slater seems like he is having a ball in the supporting role of Nathaniel, the biographer-wannabe. Make sure to keep an eye out for a short (less than 5 min. of screen time) and an all-too-rare appearance by Elizabeth McGovern, who plays a veteran female writer visiting Smith College in the late 50s. The photography is nice, in particular the great overhead shots of Stockholm.
"The Wife" premiered at last year's Toronto Film Festival, to positive buzz. The movie finally reached my art-house theater here in Cincinnati. No idea why it's taken over a year, but better late than never. The early Sunday evening screening where I saw this at was attended nicely (about 20 people). If you are interested in an intense character study with some nice plot twists along the way, of are simply a fan of Glenn Close or any other the other performers, I'd readily suggest you check out "The Wife", be it in the theater (if you still can), on VOD or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
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