The Wife

Critics Consensus

The Wife relies on the strength of Glenn Close's performance to drive home the power of its story -- and she proves thoroughly, grippingly up to the task.



Total Count: 213


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,147
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Movie Info

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.

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Glenn Close
as Joan Castleman
Jonathan Pryce
as Joe Castleman
Christian Slater
as Nathaniel Bone
Max Irons
as David Castleman
Harry Lloyd
as Young Joe Castleman
Annie Starke
as Young Joan Castleman
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News & Interviews for The Wife

Critic Reviews for The Wife

All Critics (213) | Top Critics (30)

  • If ever a film belonged to an actor... this one belongs to Close. Mesmeric is an adjective often misused as a synonym for superlatives because it sounds cool. Here it is the right word.

    Sep 28, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Pryce is on fearless form, boldly inhabiting a character with a monstrous carapace and...soft, shriveled insides. While Close is ineffably good, playing the still-simmering centre of a cruel, capricious world.

    Sep 27, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • An intelligent drama that treats its disempowered heroine with the respect she deserves.

    Sep 27, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Watch Close's face in these early scenes; imagine what she's feeling because you will imagine something much different by the end.

    Sep 21, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • With Glenn Close in the lead role, it's... unexpectedly poignant and powerful.

    Sep 20, 2018 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The Wife is that increasingly rare offering, a commercially viable film that also makes you rethink your assumptions about talent and who gets to wield it.

    Sep 10, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Wife

  • Feb 01, 2019
    The movie certainly has interesting criticisms of male ego, although I wish it had little more wit and venom. The reason to see this is for Close, a single look from her conveys a thousand emotions. It's a remarkable performance.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 15, 2019
    THE WIFE (3 Stars) If Glenn Close wins the Oscar for this, it will be well-deserved and not the Al Pacino/SCENT OF A WOMAN award for past legendary performances. She holds a master class in controlled, silent rage in a film which, unfortunately, would have been better realized as a stage play. The 11th hour on-the-nose dialogue feels like a misstep, but what comes before works so well in showing off a thoughtful, true, unexpected study of a life subjugated to a man who got to coast.
    Glenn G Super Reviewer
  • Dec 10, 2018
    "There's nothing more dangerous than a writer whose feelings have been hurt." The Wife is one of those movies you'll want to watch again as soon as you finish it the first time if not for how intense or fascinating it is, but for the delicately layered elements of perception versus reality that both Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce convey over the course of it. The Wife may look like your typical stuffy, Oscar drama fueled solely by the performances of its illustrious lead and while it most definitely is all of those things it also turns out to be much more than this; a searing portrait of intimacy and how as much between two people can be both the most familiar and painful thing in ones life. Bonus points for good turns from Christian Slater and Max Irons. Bonus bonus points for having Annie Starke, Close's real-life daughter, beautifully portray the younger version of Close's Joan. The way Starke compliments her mothers performance hammers home the personal betrayal at the heart of the film.
    Philip P Super Reviewer
  • Nov 17, 2018
    Despite two strong performances by Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce, this is a frustrating drama that starts well enough but soon gives in to clichés and unnecessary melodrama before going as far as to remove the protagonist's agency with plot choices that are in fact quite revolting.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer

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