“Don’t portray me as a victim. I’m much more interesting than that” – Glenn Close in “The Wife”
“The Wife” was the first movie I chose to see at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. There are over 200 movies and I’m only interested in seeing a handful (or two). My process is to first skim through the titles of all the films, see if I recognize any of the actors in the film, although it’s not a major deciding factor on whether I will go see it or not, then read synopsis of shortlisted ones I think I’m interested in and finally…hope I made the right choices.
“The Wife” was a good choice. The title appealed to me instantly, even before I knew what the movie was about. You realize there has to be more behind a title that is as powerful as it is undermining.
With the film already playing in major cinemas, the fact that Glenn Close is up for another Oscar nomination and was here in person to talk about the movie, the character and other juicy tidbits were only icing on the cake.
Many of you may already know the storyline by now. In a nutshell: Joseph Castleman, the husband played by Jonathan Pryce wins the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature. But Joan, his wife (the wife) is not totally satisfied. As the story unfolds we discover her secret. But it is her reticence and her facial expressions in closeups that unveil her true feelings. It’s all about the closeups: they are the most revealing and “Glenn Closeup” is a genius at displaying her emotion… ever so subtle. You come to realize quickly why she is nominated for an Oscar.
This film has some similarities to another movie I recently saw at the Vancouver International Film Festival called Collette with Keira Knightley. In the sense that both are intelligent, strong women who take a back seat to their writer husbands and let them have all the glory while they do all the necessary work to get them to where they are. Clearly the writing motif is key.
What is also fascinating in this story is that the Nobel Prize people gave the go ahead to re-create an exact replica of what goes on behind the scenes when someone gets the prize. It gives you more than a glimpse into the proceedings, some of which are grand, some of which are unbelievably nutty.
The Word according to Glenn:
In the backflash scenes, young Joan Castleman is perfectly played by Annie Starke who also happens to be Close’s daughter in real life. She is very rightly proud of her daughter’s portrayal and did not want to be a part of her creative process, preferring to let Annie have her own space, not once coming into contact with her on set.
The movie took 14 years to complete, of which the last five she was a part of. Being independent filmmakers, they could not come up with the funding. Finally the money to put it all together came from across the sea in places like Sweden and England, but not America.
She was previously nominated six times for an Academy Award in: The World According to Garp, The Big Chill, The Natural, Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons and Albert Nobbs. She said not to feel bad if she doesn’t win this time around – why ruin her track record.
She’s a bit naturally reserved preferring to read a book over partying. But when she did the Big Chill she was coerced by co-star Mary Kay Place into partying in the room which Jeff Goldblum and Kevin Kline shared and causing a bit of a ruckus. The girls played pranks like buying and hanging really large underwear & bras in the rooms of Jeff Goldblum and Kevin Kline by the fan so it would start to blow as soon as they turned it on. Stuff like that. Stuff you wouldn’t perceive Glenn Close with being a part of.
Close had a Canadian boyfriend during filming of The Big Chill who invented a game which everyone played to pass the time on set – a lot. It was called “Trivial Pursuit.” Heard of it?
In a nutshell… I really enjoyed this movie, thought all the performances were top-notch and have been thinking about playing TRIVIAL PURSUIT again.