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FILM

Beneath a Nobel cause THE WIFE (MA) hhhkj Director: Bjorn Runge Starring: Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, Christian Slater Running time: 100 minutes Behind every great man ... is a woman who has shown heroic restraint in the face of an endless stream of snubs, rebuffs, put-downs and brush-offs. Who better to bring her to life than Glenn Close, an actor capable of conveying strength, dignity and intelligence in the most challenging of circumstances? That includes playing second fiddle to a self-absorbed literary buffoon (superbly rendered here by Jonathan Pryce). Joan Castleman picks fluff off the collar of an overcoat lapel as carefully as her husband scrutinises his own press. As the grievously underestimated wife, mother and artist’s muse, Close conveys her character’s subterranean turmoil with the

MORE TO A MUSE ... Things are not as they seem in Swedish director Bjorn Runge’s The Wife, starring Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce.

tiniest of muscle quivers. It’s an indelible performance in which even an arched brow would amount to an overstatement. Not since Fatal Attraction has Close had a role so attuned to the collective consciousness. Based on the novel by Meg Wolitzer, The Wife tells the story of a supremely selfcontained woman in her late 60s/early 70s who starts to re-evaluate her life choices after her husband wins the Nobel Prize. Close conveys her internal crisis almost

entirely without dialogue, supported by Jane Anderson’s beautifully crafted script. Swedish filmmaker Bjorn Runge (Happy End) is similarly restrained in his direction. At first glance, The Wife appears to be a fairly classic tale of a literary giant and his self-sacrificing spouse who has given up her own writerly ambitions to nurture his. But there’s something in Joan’s expression, as she observes her husband being fawned over, which piques interest.

We are not alone. Christian Slater’s exquisitely oily biographer, Nathaniel Bone, has also caught the scent. We’ve heard it all before: charismatic, married professor, star pupil, scandalous affair. Then there’s the son (Max Irons), a would-be writer and angry young man who is desperate for the approval his father cruelly withholds. A compelling, complex, timely twist on an overfamiliar narrative. VICKY ROACH

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Brisbane News Magazine Aug 1 - 7, 2018. ISSUE 1188  

Brisbane's premier weekly lifestyle mag, featuring the people, events, food, and properties that make our city beautiful. brisbanenews.com.a...

Brisbane News Magazine Aug 1 - 7, 2018. ISSUE 1188  

Brisbane's premier weekly lifestyle mag, featuring the people, events, food, and properties that make our city beautiful. brisbanenews.com.a...