Six time Oscar nominee Glenn Close is still yet to take home one of those famous gold statues. This veteran Hollywood actress has been recognised for her contributions to the industry before though, primarily in the 80s where she was nominated three times in consecutive years for The World According Garp (1982), The Big Chill (1983) and The Natural (1984) - then perhaps most famously for Fatal Attraction (1987) before Dangerous Liaisons a year later in 1988. Whilst her last nom was for her role as Albert Noobs in the film of the same name in 2011, her latest leading role as The Wife demands an eighth shot at the elusive crown on Sunday 24th February.
Swedish director Björn Runge brings the story of the wife (Close) of critically acclaimed author Joe Castleman, who evaluates and questions her life decisions as she travels to Stockholm after her husband is nominated for a Nobel Prize in literature. Close delivers a beautiful, powerfully nuanced and often agonisingly evasive performance in the title role.
The Wife opens with husband (Jonathan Pryce) receiving a call from the Nobel academy in Stockholm, leading him to request that his wife listens in on the landline from a separate phone to hear the wonderful news. From practically minutes in, Close delivers a meticulous portrayal of a woman knowingly eclipsed by the success of her fraudulent husband. Her character is shot almost entirely in close-up - allowing us a magnifying glass view of Close's intricate performance. Glancing deep into her eyes you notice the simultaneous swell of pain and pride, but as we hear of her husband's good news it's her reaction and emotions we are watching. The fundamentality of Close's performance is the precision and delicacy of her expressions. The objectifying title of The Wife is hugely important, as the film encapsulates the treatment of women in relationships and how men can often overlook their ambitions and aspirations.
Being an independent film The Wife is a way away from typical Hollywood glitz and glam - it's a raw, stripped back, character driven story that achieves very little visually but a lot emotionally. That's not nessarilly a criticism however, The Wife is pure, simple filmmaking that is thankfully bolstered by two knockout, heavyweight performances. A despicable tortured soul, Pryce holds his own against Close, matching her powerful, muted performance as a comparatively loud, brash and overindulged character. For any aspiring young actor, The Wife is a hidden gem that stands up with the greatest performances of 2018.
Close gives the performance of her lifetime in The Wife - a film that analyses the power of deceit, fraud and the often neglected talent of female partners in relationships. Runge has utilised two stars perfectly in his admittedly simple but effective character study. It's imperative that films like The Wife still exist, lacking the big budgets and glossy resources but allowing actors opportunities to showcase their very best abilities.
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.