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After nearly forty years of marriage, JOAN and JOE CASTLEMAN are complements. At times, a restless discontentment can be glimpsed beneath Joan's smoothly decorous surface, but her natural dignity and keen sense of humor carry her through the rough spots.
Roger EbertFull Review Good "The Wife” gets juicier and juicier as Joan eventually gives voice to all she's seen and done and unleashes secrets she's held close for too long. Once she does that, she can finally allow herself to come into her own—and the look on Close's finely featured face at the finale suggests she's ready to do just that with a vengeance, and on her own terms. It's a moment of understated triumph.
Rolling StoneFull Review Very Good Close plays this ignored, pushed-aside woman like a gathering storm, drawing us into the mind and heart of a heroine who's not going to take it any more. The Wife, a funny and fierce showcase for her prodigious talents... You can't take your eyes off her.
Rex ReedFull Review Good ...The Wife is astonishingly relevant without trying. The performances are first rate, the screenplay adapted by Jane Anderson from the novel by Meg Wolitzer is intelligent, and although it's a resonant narrative without much excitement, the film provides Glenn Close with the kind of rich and meaty role she deserves.
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It's 1993, and Joe is about to be awarded the Nobel Prize for his acclaimed and
prolific body of
work. Joe's literary star has blazed since he and Joan first met in the late
1950s, when she was a
demure Smith student and he, her (married) creative writing teacher. THE WIFE
the midcentury story of the couple's youthful passion and ambition with a
portrait of a
marriage, thirty-plus years later-a lifetime's shared compromises, secrets,
genuine, mutual love. From 1960 to 1993 to our present vantage point of 2018, we
Joan and Joe Castleman in the context of their times, and ours.
En route to Stockholm for the Nobel Prize ceremonies (aboard the Concorde, still
transatlantic vessel of choice in 1993), Joan and Joe are accompanied by their
son DAVID (Max
Irons), an aspiring writer in his twenties who feels that Joe belittles his
work. Sulky and
resentful, David wears his wounded heart on his sleeve. There's another man on
also wants something from Joe: NATHANIEL BONE (Christian Slater), a journalist
who plans to
write the definitive biography of Joseph Castleman, authorized or not. To
crusty, arrogant Joe,
Nathaniel's just a pest to be brushed off, but to Joan, making an enemy of
Nathaniel is a risky
matter. As always, she's the conciliator between Joe and David, Joe and
Amid the nonstop round of ceremonial festivities in Stockholm, Joan and Joe are
familiar, long-worn roles: Joe is flattered and schmoozed, while Joan stands by
his side wearing
her quiet smile.
Another familiar, long-worn dynamic plays out in Stockholm as Joe is trailed by
young woman photographer assigned to document Joe's every public moment. Joan
the predictable progression of flirtation and indiscretion that she has
through so many years of Joe's serial infidelities. This time, Joan's had
enough. Serving Joe
notice that she wants no place on a pedestal as his passive muse; matching wits
with a prying
Nathaniel Bone; letting her own grievances flare, for once, instead of smoothing
else's problems-Joan finally reaches for self-determination. The Castleman
literary legend will never be the same.