After nearly forty years of marriage, Joan and Joe Castleman (Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce) are complements. Where Joe is casual, Joan is elegant. Where Joe is vain, Joan is self-effacing. And where Joe enjoys his very public role as Great American Novelist, Joan pours her considerable intellect, grace, charm, and diplomacy into the private role of Great Man’s Wife.
Joe is about to be awarded the Nobel Prize for his acclaimed and prolific body of work. Joe’s literary star has blazed since he and Joan first met in the late 1950. The Wife interweaves the story of the couple’s youthful passion and ambition with a portrait of a marriage, thirty-plus years later—a lifetime’s shared compromises, secrets, betrayals, and mutual love.
The Wife is based on the novel by Meg Wolitzer. [Sony Pictures Classics]
Chicago Sun-Times/Richard Roeper
The Wife is visually arresting, but Runge wisely opts for a straightforward approach overall, giving center stage to the dialogue and the actors.
Washington Post/Ann Hornaday
A handsome production that delicately skewers literary-world pretensions and Great Man mythmaking. But primarily, The Wife offers viewers a chance to observe one of the finest — and most criminally underpraised — actresses of her generation working at the very top of her shrewd, subtle, superbly self-controlled game.
New York Observer/Rex Reed
Soars above the ordinary with a timely narrative and a magnetic performance by Glenn Close that is nothing short of miraculous.
The Wrap/Todd Gilchrist
What ultimately works most profoundly for the film is that its intimacy, its specificity, feels less like the culmination of Joan’s life experiences and more like an epiphany, or maybe an origin story, for what’s yet to come from her.
The Film Stage/Jordan Rulmy
As fraught with drama as this powder keg of heightened circumstances may be, make no mistake, The Wife is more than an actor’s showcase. The film itself is superb, a ticking time-bomb of simmering tension which benefits from the audience knowing as little as possible in advance.
Time Out/Anna Smith
While Meg Wolitzer’s source novel is written in Joan’s voice, The Wife resists narration and allows Joan to internalize her feelings, ranging from affection, concern and duty to bitterness and rage. It’s a smart move.