Ghostwriting is done all the time. In order to do so, you literally have to have no attachment or ego to the work you are crafting. That task becomes rather complicated when the person you are ghostwriting for is the love of your life, who is now being recognized with the Nobel Prize for Literature for their body of work. Problem is…it’s really YOUR body of work and the love of your life was simply the editor.
The Wife is built around the Castleman’s – Joseph and Joan who first meet in 1958. Joan is a student of then married Professor Castleman at an all-female college and well on her way to pursuing a literary career. That is until she has a chance meeting with a published alumna (Elizabeth Mc Govern), who doesn’t sugar coat that female authors don’t get published and their books don’t get read. As a result, Joan swallows her pride and extinguishes any aspirations to become a published author.
The Castleman’s spent decades keeping their ‘ghostwriting’ secret under wraps until a really nosy reporter (Christian Slater) gets wind of the truth and attempts by any means necessary to unravel it by following the family to Sweden for the Nobel ceremony.
All of this is offset brilliantly, with flashbacks, ceremonial preparations for the Nobel Prize and a complex, torturous familial relationship between father, son, wife, daughter and parents.
The Wife has given Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce the acting showcase of a lifetime. Here you have magnificently, brilliant actors from the theatre sparring with vocabulary like a verbal duel fight to the finish. The internal quiet rage washing across Joan’s face while Joseph gives his Nobel acceptance speech is an acting quality that can not be taught. You are either gifted enough to pull it off or you are not. It goes without saying that Glenn Close is more than capable and does so like the pro and legend she is. This film and this relationship would not work without the magnetic chemistry between Pryce and Close or their artistry. Kudos to them both and kudos to director Bjorn Runge and screenplay writers Jane Anderson and Meg Wolitzer.
At the end of they day, as Joan says, “…everyone needs approval.” Produced by Sony Pictures Classics The Wife is in theaters now available via streaming services like Amazon Prime and Google.