"The Sisters Brothers" spins a unique Western yarn                "Colette" is another period piece showcase for Kiera Knightley                John C. Reilly looks like a late breaking Academy Award player in the Trailer for "Stan & Ollie"                Brie Larson saves the day in the First Trailer for "Captain Marvel"                The Toronto International Film Festival boosts "Green Book" with its Top Prize                Updated Academy Award predictions for early September                "White Boy Rick" is a compelling character study and period piece                Taking a look at potential Best Supporting Actress contenders                Shane Black gives "The Predator" his signature clever spin                Venice Film Festival award winners include "The Favourite" and "Roma"                Taking a look at potential Best Supporting Actor contenders                Watch out for Ben Foster in Best Supporting Actor for "Leave No Trace"                "The Favourite" releases a new Trailer to build off of its positive festival buzz                "All About Nina" and "Fahrenheit 11/9": Films to look forward to in September                Trailer for "The Front Runner" and Buzz from Telluride suggest another Oscar player for Jason Reitman        

Glenn Close looks for Best Actress attention with “The Wife”

So far, 2018 has not particularly released a whole lot of contenders in the acting categories. This week, a possibility emerges when The Wife hits theaters. A showcase for Glenn Close, the film actually has designs on finally winning her an Academy Award. Obviously, for Close to take Best Actress at the Oscars, she’ll have to become the one to beat during the precursor season. More on that later, but this movie does at least suggest that she’ll be in play this year. If the product on the whole is only good, Close on her own is rather great. She’s rarely been better.

The film is a drama, one rooted in literature. The simple IMDb synopsis is as follows: “A wife questions her life choices as she travels to Stockholm with her husband, where he is slated to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature.” The wife in question is Joan Castleman (Close). When we meet her, she’s in bed with her husband Joe Castleman (Jonathan Pryce), awaiting word of whether he’s about to receive a Nobel Prize or not. The call comes, and they celebrate. Something is off, however. As they travel to Stockholm for the ceremony, we flash back on how they met, their relationship, and what secret she’s been hiding for decades. In the present day, a journalist named Nathaniel Bone (Christian Slater) is keen to know more about what they’re hiding, as he attempts to write a biography on Joe. Suffice to say, things will be revealed. Björn Runge directs a script by Jane Anderson, who adapted the novel of the same name. Supporting players here include Max Irons, Karin Franz Körlof, Harry Lloyd, Elizabeth McGovern, Alix Wilton Regan, Annie Starke, and more. Cinematography is by Ulf Brantås, while the music is by Jocelyn Pook.

Glenn Close makes this movie. Without her, it would be a slightly stuffy drama with a “twist” you’ll see coming a mile away. With her, it becomes an interesting enough character study. Again, she’s why you’d see this flick, but she’s legitimately good enough to sell it, without question. Christian Slater is solid too, but Close is the undisputed star. Especially in the third act, she shines. The veteran actress gets to more or less do it all. The more it focused on her, the better that the movie was. The moments focused solely on Jonathan Pryce are the weaker moments in the film. There’s a reason for this, but it still leaves you wanting more Close.

Awards wise, it’s probably Close or bust for The Wife. Still, Sony Pictures Classics could see fit to do a full on campaign. If so, it would be looking at Picture, Best Director (for Runge), Best Actor (for Pryce), Best Actress (for Close), Best Supporting Actor (for Slater), and Best Adapted Screenplay (for Anderson). The hope is obviously that Close can be an Oscar force in Actress. Depending on how things go with the precursors, there’s a chance it could happen. At the moment, she rests just outside of my top five. That’s a solid place to be now, here in August. What will matter is where she sits around December.

Starting on Friday, fans of Close can see one of her best showcases ever when The Wife opens. There’s a chance that she’ll be in the running for Best Actress, so awards season aficionados will want to seek this out. If you’re like me, you’ll find the film passable, with her performance going above and beyond. If that’s a mild recommendation for a movie, well, that’s where we are. It’s worth giving a look to, but aside from Close, you do want to keep your expectations in check. So, if you see it, see it for Close. She definitely does not disappoint…

Be sure to check out Close in The Wife, in limited release this weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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