In the new movie The Wife coming to limited release this week, Glenn Close plays Joan Castleman, the wife of Joe Castleman (Jonathan Pryce), a well-regarded author who one day learns he’s been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. A wonderful honor, of course, the two are feted at parties and galas where his genius is celebrated.
Through all that she is standing by his side, as she has been for decades. Finally it’s too much and the dreams she herself fostered of becoming a renowned writer come boiling to the surface, causing tension and turmoil that he doesn’t understand but which have been festering in her for a long, long time.
There’s no copy on the poster, just the close-up faces of Close and Pryce, both in elegant evening wear, conveying the status of the characters and that we’re in thin air with the story.
Joe immediately does not come off as a warm, sensitive individual in the trailer, shown right off the bat as someone obsessed more with how his family’s behavior reflects on his image than anything else. When he’s notified he’s been awarded a Nobel Prize it sets off a series of events that creates more and more tension in his marriage to Joan, who it turns out is a frustrated writer herself. Her own writing was stifled by Joe so she wouldn’t compete with him for the spotlight, part of his overall dismissal of her as a person. She’s at the breaking point and is done with the facade of her life and her position alongside Joe.
Yes Glenn Close. Yes. Jonathan Pryce. Both look great here, but it’s Close that really comes through as the star, conveying all the years of dutiful obedient and subservient behavior and the resentment and anger that has been building, only to be unleashed by one dismissive comment too many. Also, it’s good to see Christian Slater again.
Online and Social
In addition to the usual material such as trailers, a gallery and more, the movie’s official website does offer some information on Meg Wolitzer, the author of the source novel.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Nothing I’ve seen.
Media and Publicity
After receiving strong reviews and word of mouth at the Toronto Film Festival, the movie was picked up by Sony Classics.
At the movie’s premiere in late July, Close offered her comments on why it took so long for the movie, which has been circulating around for a while, to finally come to the screen. Pryce and Slater also spoke about what motivates their characters. Later on Close was profiled as someone who’s never taken the easy path in her career but has never been uninteresting.
A couple weeks ago a clip showing a young Joan still driven by ambition was released.
Close made the media rounds, showing up on “Today,” “The Tonight Show” and “Late Night” to talk about the movie and its journey to the screen, also the subject of another story here. Also frequently mentioned was that her own daughter plays the younger version of her character in the film. Christian Slater also made a few appearances.
By focusing not just on Close but on the story of how Hollywood has effectively kept this out of production for a number of years the campaign makes the movie seem even more timely than it already was. It becomes an example of how women are kept to the side of society on a number of fronts and is all the more powerful for it.
Aside from that you can’t argue with anything featuring Close going all-out like this. She’s the focal point of the campaign, which is always welcome as it brings one of the best actresses around back to the forefront of the conversation.
PICKING UP THE SPARE
Another profile of star Glenn Close and her impressive career here.
Good interview here with the movie’s screenwriter.