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The Wife -2017 Film

The Wife is a 2017 drama film directed by Björn Runge and written by Jane Anderson, based on the novel of the same name by Meg Wolitzer. It stars Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, and Christian Slater, and follows, mostly in flashback, an older woman who questions her life choices as she travels to Stockholm with her husband, who is to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. The film premiered on September 12, 2017, at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, and was released in the United States on August 17, 2018 by Sony Pictures Classics. It received generally positive reviews from critics, with Close's performance garnering high praise; she won the Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award and Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Actress for her performance, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress and the BAFTA Award for Best Actress.

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The Wife
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBjörn Runge
Produced by
  • Rosalie Swedlin
  • Meta Louise Foldager
  • Piers Tempest
  • Piodor Gustafsson
  • Claudia Bluemhube
Screenplay byJane Anderson
Based onThe Wife
by Meg Wolitzer
Starring
Music byJocelyn Pook
CinematographyUlf Brantås
Edited byLena Runge
Production
company
Distributed bySony Pictures Classics
Release date
  • September 12, 2017 (2017-09-12) (TIFF)
  • August 17, 2018 (2018-08-17) (United States)
  • September 28, 2018 (2018-09-28) (United Kingdom)
  • December 7, 2018 (2018-12-07) (Sweden)
Running time
100 minutes
Country
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom
  • United States[1]
LanguageEnglish
Box office$17.8 million[2]

The Wife is a 2017 drama film directed by Björn Runge and written by Jane Anderson, based on the novel of the same name by Meg Wolitzer. It stars Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, and Christian Slater, and follows, mostly in flashback, an older woman who questions her life choices as she travels to Stockholm with her husband, who is to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.

The film premiered on September 12, 2017, at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival,[3] and was released in the United States on August 17, 2018 by Sony Pictures Classics. It received generally positive reviews from critics, with Close's performance garnering high praise; she won the Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award and Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Actress for her performance, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress and the BAFTA Award for Best Actress.

Plot

In 1958, Joan Archer meets Joseph Castleman, a handsome young married professor at Smith, a women's college. Although already an accomplished (if unpublished) writer, Joan is awed by Joseph's force of personality and advice that "a writer must write". She meets a published alumna author whose cynical view of the opportunities available to female writers disheartens her. Two years later, Joseph has been fired for having an affair with Joan, his marriage is failing, and his first attempt at writing a novel turns out very poorly.

Joan, a secretary at a publishing house, observes how the all-male editors dismiss women writers. When Joan criticizes Joseph's work, he threatens to end his relationship with her, claiming she cannot love "a hack". Joan agrees to fix Joseph's novel for him. The work, titled The Walnut, is published and becomes a bestseller. By 1968, Joseph and Joan are living in a large seaside home in Connecticut. Joan is hard at work on a novel, to be published under Joseph's name, while Joseph supports her by cooking, cleaning, and caring for their first child, David. As Joseph and Joan converse, it is apparent that Joan's novel is a reflection of their life together, which bores Joan. A narcissist, Joseph has several adulterous affairs over the next four decades, and tells everyone that Joan "does not write".

By 1992, an elderly Joseph has become a celebrated author. He wins the Nobel Prize in Literature, about which Joan is less than happy. David, who idolizes his father but is unaware that Joan has written all of Joseph's books, seeks his critique of his first short story. The three of them fly to Stockholm as Nathaniel Bone, a biographer with a taste for scandal, tries to ingratiate himself with the Castlemans. Joan's unhappiness worsens as adulation is heaped on Joseph. His attempts to publicly thank her for supporting him only embitter her further.

Nathaniel, sensing Joan's emotional state, induces her to talk with him over drinks and says that he knows that Joan has ghostwritten a major portion or even all of each of Joseph's novels. Joan does not admit the truth, but Nathaniel is convinced by their conversation that he is correct. Meanwhile, Joseph tries to seduce a beautiful young photographer who is assigned to him, but is unable to consummate the affair because of his cardiovascular disease. Joseph accuses Joan of abandoning him, while Joan expresses her outrage over his attempted affair. The argument ceases when they learn that their daughter Susannah has given birth.

On the night of the Nobel ceremony, David confronts his parents after being told by Nathaniel that Joan is the only writer in the family. Joseph and Joan deny everything. At the ceremony and the banquet which follows, Joan becomes increasingly upset by the accolades showered on Joseph. She flees, and Joseph follows her. He demands that she take his prize, but she refuses. At their hotel, Joan tells Joseph she is divorcing him. They argue violently, and Joseph has a heart attack. Prostrate on the bed, he begs for Joan's love. She tells him she loves him; he replies "You're such a good liar," and dies moments later. On the airplane back to the US, Nathaniel offers his condolences to Joan. She tells him that if he tries to print anything that undermines Joseph's reputation as a writer, she will sue him. David overhears her. Joan says that she will tell David and his sister the truth when they get home.

Cast

Production

On May 16, 2014, it was reported that Glenn Close would star in an adaptation of the Meg Wolitzer novel The Wife. The film was directed by Björn Runge and written by Jane Anderson.[4] On January 30, 2015, Frances McDormand, Logan Lerman, Brit Marling, Jonathan Pryce, and Christian Slater were announced as having also been cast.[5] On October 19, 2016, Pryce and Slater's involvement was confirmed, and Elizabeth McGovern, Max Irons, and Close's daughter Annie Starke joined the cast, playing the roles originally set with McDormand, Lerman, and Marling, respectively; Harry Lloyd was also added.[6] Close approached Gary Oldman for the part of Joe Castleman but he was unavailable for the role. The Wife shot scenes in Glasgow,[7] Edinburgh, and Arbigland Estate in Dumfries.[8]

Reception

Box office

As of February 10, 2019, The Wife has grossed $9.1 million in the United States and Canada, and $8.6 million in other territories, for a total worldwide of $17.7 million.[2]

In its first weekend of limited release, The Wife grossed $111,137 from four theaters, for an average of $27,784, the best of the weekend.[9] It expanded to 18 theaters in its second weekend, making $212,714.[10]

Critical response

Glenn Close's performance as Joan Castleman received widespread acclaim and earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress.

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 85% based on 200 reviews, and an average rating of 7.1/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Wife relies on the strength of Glenn Close's performance to drive home the power of its story—and she proves thoroughly, grippingly up to the task."[11] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 77 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[12]

Peter Travers, in Rolling Stone magazine, gave the film four out of five stars, calling Close's acting a "tour-de-force," and saying she "takes it to the next level with a powerfully implosive performance that doubles as an accumulation of details that define a marriage. She never telegraphs Joan’s feelings, letting them unravel slowly as we watch her attend parties as a buildup to the big night."[13] The chief film critic for The Observer Mark Kermode described the movie as a "Stockholm syndrome with a twist",[14] while Glenn Close, interviewed by Robbie Collin for Irish Independent, described it as "part-period piece, part-love story, part-Bergmanesque drama—so much so the latter that it could have been called Scenes from a Marriage."[15] Citing the screening coordinator Peggy Siegal, Bill McCuddy of the Gold Derby called The Wife "the perfect '#MeToo' film" and defined it as Oscar bait.[16]

San Diego Reader writer Scott Marks gave the film one out of five stars and criticized the film's simplicity, writing: "It might not have been so bad had the road to the big reveal been paved with insight and originality, but other than the performances, there is nothing here audiences haven't seen more times than they have their own feet."[17] Writing for the Chicago Reader, Ben Sachs wrote: "Because the performances are so calculated, the emotional outbursts on which the story hinges fail to make a dramatic impact. And for a film about a novelist, The Wife conveys very little sense of what it's like to read or write."[18]

Accolades

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref(s)
AACTA International Awards January 4, 2019 Best Actress Glenn Close Nominated [19]
AARP Movies for Grownups Awards February 4, 2019 Best Actress Won [20]
Academy Awards February 24, 2019 Best Actress Pending [21]
Alliance of Women Film Journalists January 20, 2019 Best Actress Nominated [22]
Actress Defying Age and Ageism Won
British Academy Film Awards February 10, 2019 Best Actress in a Leading Role Nominated [23]
Capri Hollywood International Film Festival January 2, 2019 Best Actress Won [24]
Best Supporting Actor Jonathan Pryce Won
Columbus Film Critics Association Awards January 3, 2019 Best Actress Glenn Close Nominated [25]
Critics' Choice Movie Awards January 13, 2019 Best Actress Won [26]
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association December 17, 2018 Best Actress 4th place [27]
Film by the Sea Festival Set 7-16, 2018 Best Film and Literature The Wife Nominated [28]
Florida Film Critics Circle December 21, 2018 Best Actress Glenn Close Nominated [29]
Gotham Awards November 26, 2018 Best Actress Nominated [30]
Golden Globe Awards January 6, 2019 Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Won [31]
Hollywood Film Awards November 4, 2018 Best Actress Won [32]
Houston Film Critics Society January 3, 2019 Best Actress Nominated [33]
Independent Spirit Awards February 23, 2019 Best Female Lead Pending [34]
Latino Entertainment Journalists Association Awards January 20, 2019 Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role Nominated
London Film Critics' Circle January 20, 2019 Actress of the Year Nominated [35]
New Mexico Film Critics Association December 9, 2018 Best Actress Won [36]
Palm Springs International Film Festival January 3, 2019 Icon Award Won [37]
San Diego Film Critics Society December 10, 2018 Best Actress Won [38]
Satellite Awards February 17, 2019 Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama Won [39]
Screen Actors Guild Awards January 27, 2019 Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Won [40]
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association December 16, 2018 Best Actress Nominated [41]
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association December 3, 2018 Best Actress Nominated [42]
Women Film Critics Circle December 11, 2018 The Invisible Woman Award Won [43]
Women's Image Network Awards February 22, 2019 Best Film Actress Pending [44]
Best Film Written By a Woman Jane Anderson Pending

References

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  2. 1 2 "The Wife (2018)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
  3. Fleming, Mike Jr. (July 25, 2017). "Toronto Film Festival 2017 Unveils Strong Slate". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  4. McNary, Dave (May 16, 2014). "Glenn Close Heading to Sweden to Star in 'The Wife'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  5. Barraclough, Leo (January 30, 2015). "Berlin: Frances McDormand, Brit Marling, Christian Slater Join 'The Wife'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  6. Ritman, Alex (October 19, 2016). "Glenn Close's 'The Wife' Rounds Out Cast". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  7. Barnes, Luke (November 21, 2016). "Hollywood superstar Glenn Close spotted in Glasgow as she shoots scenes for movie 'The Wife'". Daily Record. Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  8. Swarbrick, Susan (February 15, 2017). "Coming attractions: the star-studded new films and TV shows shot in Scotland". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  9. D'Alessandro, Anthony (August 19, 2018). "'Crazy Rich Asians' Even Richer On Saturday With $10M+; Weekend Bling Now At $25M+ With $34M 5-Day Debut". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  10. https://deadline.com/2018/08/searching-finds-top-dollar-the-bookshop-john-mcenroe-land-decent-specialty-box-office-1202452406/
  11. "The Wife (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  12. "The Wife Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  13. Travers, Peter (August 14, 2018). "The Wife Review: Glenn Close's Spouse Is Mad as Hell in High-Lit Relationship Drama". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  14. Kermode, Mark (September 30, 2018). "The Observer—The New Review—Stockholm syndrome with a twist". The Guardian. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  15. Collin, Robbie (October 7, 2018). "'My childhood gave me a kind of PTSD'—Glenn Close". Irish Independent. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  16. McCuddy, Bill (July 29, 2018). "Glenn Close scores Oscar buzz for The Wife at private Hamptons screening". Gold Derby. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  17. Marks, Scott. "The Wife". San Diego Reader. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  18. Sachs, Ben (August 21, 2018). "The Wife's a better conversation starter than a movie ". Chicago Reader. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  19. "AACTA International Awards: 'Roma' Takes Best Film & Director; 'The Favourite' Also A Double Winner". Deadline Hollywood. January 5, 2019. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
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  22. "2018 EDA Award Nominees". Alliance of Women Film Journalists. December 18, 2018. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  23. "'The Favourite' Dominates BAFTA Nominations 2019". The Hollywood Reporter. January 9, 2019. Archived from the original on January 9, 2019. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
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  27. French, Alan (December 17, 2018). "Dallas Fort Worth Critics Association Winners – 'A Star Is Born' Finally Grabs Gold". Awards Circuit. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
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  31. Staff, THR (December 6, 2018). "Golden Globes Nominations: 'Vice' Leads With 6, 'Versace' Tops TV With 4". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  32. "The 22nd Annual 'Hollywood Film Awards®' Marked The Launch Of Awards Season With A Star-Studded Evening". Hollywood, CA: Hollywood Film Awards. November 4, 2018. Archived from the original on November 6, 2018. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  33. Roberts, James (January 4, 2019). "THE FAVOURITE WINS BIG AT 12TH ANNUAL HOUSTON FILM CRITICS SOCIETY AWARDS". Glide Magazine. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  34. "34th Film Independent Spirits Nominations Announced" (PDF). Los Angeles: Independent Spirit Awards. November 15, 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 17, 2018. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  35. "THE FAVOURITE LEADS NOMINEES FOR CC FILM AWARDS". The Critics' Circle. December 18, 2018. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
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  37. "Glenn Close Icon Award". Palm Springs International Film Society. November 8, 2018.
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  39. "'A Star Is Born,' 'Roma,' and 'Beale Street' Win Big at the Satellite Awards". Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  40. Patrick Hipes (December 12, 2018). "SAG Awards Nominations: 'A Star Is Born', 'Mrs. Maisel', 'Ozark' Lead Way – The Full List". Deadline.
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  42. "The 2018 WAFCA Awards". Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association. December 3, 2018. Archived from the original on December 3, 2018. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  43. "The 2018 Women Film Critics Circle (WFCC) Winners". Next Best Picture. December 11, 2018. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
  44. "Women's Image Awards nominations: 'Mary Queen of Scots,' 'Little Women' lead". Gold Derby. December 11, 2018. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
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