Glenn Close is definitely going to be Best Actress nominated for The Wife and she actually may win this time. The film is a solid double-A quality package — a tidy, well-ordered, somewhat conservative-minded, theatrical-style drama. Some may say it’s a little too stagey, a little too deliberate, but it’s as good as this sort of thing gets. It satisfies, add up, delivers. Will the New Academy Kidz fall in line? They should. Brilliant acting is brilliant acting.
The Hollywood Reporter‘s Jon Frosch wrote that Close’s performance as the wife of a Nobel Prize-winning author (Jonathan Pryce) is “like a bomb ticking away toward detonation” — perfect. But she’s not just playing her husband’s better in terms of talent and temperament. She’s playing every wife who ever felt under-valued, patronized or otherwise diminished by a swaggering hot-shot husband along with their friends and colleagues as well as — why not? — society as a whole.
I saw The Wife at the Paris last night. The crowd whooped and cheered, and then Close and original “Wife” author Meg Wolitzer sat for a 20-minute q & a. There wasn’t a person in the crowd under 55. The over-55 Academy contingent is going to vote for Close en masse, no question. Over the last 30-plus years she’s been nominated for six Best Actress Oscars (The World According to Garp, The Big Chill, The Natural, Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, Albert Nobbs) without a win — this will be the clincher.
Given all this, it’s shocking that the N.Y. Times gave The Wife a piddly three-paragraph review, which is basically their way of saying “meh, not bad, marginal fare, not very important.” Very curious for a film with a 93% Rotten Tomatoes score