The Wife: A Nobel Prize winner exposed
3 November 2018
Directed by Björn Runge, written by Jane Anderson, based on the novel by Meg Wolitzer.
“All you are going for is what feels human, and it transcends a political moment, it predates a political moment, it’s like what happens between people, in this case between women,” Meg Woltzier, author of The Wife.
The Wife, directed by Swedish filmmaker Björn Runge, has generally been met with accolades. Virtually every film critic has given Glenn Close—playing the part of Joan Castleman, the “Wife” in question—rave reviews and many have predicted she might win an Oscar. The new film is adapted from American writer Meg Wolitzer’s 2003 novel of the same title.
At a time when “blockbuster” horror, comic book-fantasy and juvenile animation are the rage, it would be a welcome relief if a serious and intimate film about the dissolution of a marriage could make it to the screen. However, there is much that is not credible or convincing about this film.
The plot of The Wife is fairly straightforward. In the early hours of the morning, a man of 70 or so is waiting restlessly in bed and devouring food. He seems a bit of a glutton. He is impatiently waiting for a phone call from the Nobel Prize committee in Sweden. He is a prominent writer by the name of Joe Castleman (Jonathan Pryce). Joan (Close), his wife, is much more reserved and introspective. She follows his words and movements as though carefully studying him. She exudes an unspoken tension.
The phone call finally arrives, and Joe is informed that he has indeed been honored with the Nobel Prize in Literature. With sheer joy and disbelief, the couple bounce on their bed, while Joe in a sing-song…