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The Wife

Behind any great man, there's always a greater woman 

Year: 2018 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Björn Runge 
Starring: Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, Christian Slater, Elizabeth McGovern, Max Irons  
An image from The Wife

Watch Glenn Close, as the talented Joan Castleman, transform from patient, subservient wife to fiery lady in this drama about a narcissistic nobel prize winner. Set in 1992, Bjorn Runge's latest intellectual drama, based on a novel, focuses on providing a social commentary on gender politics in the literary world, but the message manages to resonate far beyond the world it depicts. Without revealing all, the premise of the movie concerns “who gets to be taken seriously” and depicts aptly the collective frustration of womankind. The underlying message is particularly apt considering the contextual backdrop of the Trump era and the silencing of women in US politics, such as Christine Blasey Ford. The most poignant moment of The Wife is the look on Joan’s face when she is told on the phone that her husband is to receive Nobel prize in literature, for reasons made clear if you are to watch the film.

Fatal Attraction's

Glenn Close gives a terrific performance as a woman who reaches breaking point after years of tolerating unloyalty, injustice, and lack of recognition and credit. There are countless adjectives one could use to describe her husband, played by Jonathan Pyrce, and he gives a formidable performance: overpowering, prying, unfaithful, manipulative, and deeply unlikeable are just some of the pejorative terms that come to mind. The film, with the help of its actors, is a masterpiece: the non linear chronological structure strengthens our feelings on the films’ characters and their outcomes: the flashbacks provide us with a sense of Joan’s early optimism as a budding writer and university student, and gradually how that optimism wanes. This is ultimately a story of sacrifice, recognition, loss, gender politics, and power relations; it really is a treat.

Naz Ozkan

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Screenings of this film:

2018/2019 Autumn Term (digital)