The Wife (2018)

Glenn Close brings a story thinner and trashier than it appears to life, really imbuing it with weight and a sense of emotional reality it perhaps doesn’t really earn on its own merits. Jonathan Pryce fits his role well, but the one-note act gets old. The film feels stretched, like it could justify maybe fifty minutes but not its feature runtime. What Glenn Close does really is fantastic, so many microexpressions and complex reactions, and the general concept of the story as revealed is strong enough, but it’s all rather limply executed. The pulpy way the turn of the story is treated also reads kind of strangely; is scandalisation really the best attitude to take to such a turn in this decade? Considering what the film was clearly greenlit in reaction to? Were there no more generative tacks to take?

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The film comes across as still and coolly dispassionate, where its subject matter should inspire anything but. The casting of Close’s daughter as her character younger in life is a neat little stunt, and both actors do a good job with the character, but the film mostly just adds up to that. That character being performed well. Did everything else need to be so workmanlike and stiff? One gets the feeling this would’ve worked better as a play, as there’s never really the sense that any cinematic resources are enhancing the story here. Perhaps close-up shots were enough. The film’s not really a failure, but it seems to go out of its way to make itself as uninteresting as possible. At least Close was fantastic. Two and a half overlong speeches, and a Nobel prize.

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