“The Wife”, based on the novel by Meg Wolitzer is a satisfyingly complex and truthful movie about talented but not necessarily very nice people doing unconventional things to get what they want,
It tells the story of the wife of a man who is about to receive the Nobel Prize for literature. He is a larger than life, slightly vulgar, compulsively womanising man whose books are complex, innovative, truthful and emotionally rich.
His wife was his student and is presented as his muse and his helper, without whom he could have achieved nothing.
When you cast Glenn Close in that role you know that there must be more to this than meets the eye.
The story goes from the early morning phone call from the Nobel Committee through the journey to Stockholm and the prize giving ceremony.
Along the way, with the aid of flashbacks to their youth the complex relationship that this married couple has is revealed, piece by piece in scenes that are intimate and passionate but which don’t necessarily take you where you expect to go.
The script is wonderful and the performances are powerful. Glenn Close is aiming for an Oscar for this one (the movie release is alleged to have been delayed to 2018 to give her a better chance) and she delivers a performance that is filled with strength, anger, compassion and wit. Jonathan Pryce excels as her all-too-easy-to-dislike husband.
Christian Slater as the would-be biographer who thinks he smells a scandal is… well… Christian Slater but perfectly cast. Max Irons plays the truculent son to perfection and Annie Starke, Glen Close’s real-life daughter, gives a nuanced and subtle performance as the young Glen Close, meeting and marrying the man who will receive the Nobel prize.
I found the camera work and lighting in this movie a little patchy. The close-up face to face scenes where wonderfully done but the rest had the feeling a stage set: a little dark and very static.
This is one of the better films I’ve seen this year and I wish Glen Close success at the Oscars