“The Wife” stars Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, Christian Slater, Max Irons, Annie Starke, Harry Lloyd, and Elizabeth McGovern. Released on August 17, 2018, the film is about a wife who questions her life choices as she travels to Stockholm with her husband.
The film is directed by Björn Runge, who is known for directing the 2005 Swedish film, “Mun mot mun” (“Mouth to Mouth”), and it is based on the novel of the same name by Meg Wolitzer. With the fall movie season underway, it’s time for me to once again look at some of the films that may have a shot to earn that gold Oscar statuette, starting with this one. For those who are unfamiliar with this film, it made its first debut at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, where it received numerous amounts of praise from critics, with Close’s performance being hailed as one of the best of her career. It then received a theatrical release a year after. If you’re wondering why it took that long to release a film like this in the United States, you’re asking the wrong guy. However, if you’re wondering if the film is worth the wait, then you’re asking the right person.
The film is more of a mature and realistic portrayal of one's marriage and how the life choices they made in the past slowly start to affect it, including the role of expressing talent. Not only was the story handled with care and respect by Runge, but it was also self-contained and well-balanced without going over the top with the emotions. There were a couple of scenes that dragged a little bit, but everything else had enough qualities to keep me engaged, especially the two main leads. Glenn Close was undeniably delightful as Joan, the wife of Pryce's character. She delivered a near-perfect amount of heart and soul into her role while also expressing her inner conflict with finesse. Jonathan Pryce also gave out a well-deserved performance as the husband. While it's nothing too special, Pryce was able to express his character's personailty with ease. These two actors are the main reasons why I was engaged to this film. When I looked at these actors as they were sharing the screen together, I didn't see them as actors. I saw them as an imperfect couple with real-life problems. Whether they're arguing with one another or expressing love with one another, their chemistry is as irresistable and riveting as any other couple in real life. The film's screenplay also helped in driving the story forward by balancing the scenes that take place during the present with the flashbacks that display the younger versions of the main characters as well as making those flashbacks important to the plot instead of making them nothing but filler.
Overall, "The Wife" is a mature and thought-provoking portrayal of an imperfect marriage. Lead by the incredible talents of Close and Pryce and a screenplay that respects its themes, the film should provide some suitable competition during this year's Oscar race in terms of the performances. If it's playing at a theater near you, it's worth a look at.