An superbly written and glowing review of The Wife, from one of our exceptional Young Critic's, Florence Tilley.
In another outstanding performance by Glenn Close, Joan Castleman, the incredibly talented, yet neglected wife of renowned novelist Joe Castleman, finally realises the recognition that she deserves, having struggled in the shadow of her husband’s literary stardom for the entirety of his career.
When the couple receives the news of Joe’s noble prize in Literature, the close-up shot that reveals Joan’s shock, delight, and horror, leads to suspicions that suggest there is a hidden secret to be told.
Despite the somewhat slow beginning, what unfolds, alongside Joe and Joan’s crumbling marriage, is a riveting story that is bound to have you on the edges of your seats for the remainder of the film. In addition to the deceitful storyline, we watch the couple’s struggled attempt to resist a keen and persistent biographer, whilst their troubled son, also a budding writer, relentlessly seeks the appraisal from his harsh critic of a father.
Moving away from the dramatic plot, The Wife’s director, Björn Runge, often integrates dark humour at the most heart-breaking of moments in the film, to effectively alleviate his audience from the raw intensity of emotion witnessed on screen. Whether it be a flashback to the 1960s or present-day footage, we also can’t forget Runge’s cinematography, which beautifully captures and reflects the intricate emotive states that unfold throughout the film.
What was most apparent to me, however, was Close’s impeccable performance as an overlooked, undervalued, and disregarded individual. Close elegantly encapsulates the immense complexity of her character’s troubled emotional state in one single facial expression, making her the standout actress of her time, and her performance as Joan Castleman a truly mesmerising one.