When a book is adapted into a film, fans of the novel will often ask how close the film is to its literary predecessor.
Earlier this year, The Wife, based on the book by Meg Wolitzer hit theaters starring Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce. Published in 2003, the book is about the breakdown of a marriage and a woman’s courage to step away from said marriage.
Joan and Joe Castleman have been married for decades. Joe is one of the preeminent writers of his generation. Joan’s writing abilities is equal to her husband’s, but she decided long ago to abandon her own dreams of writing professionally and support Joe in his career. While flying with Joe to Europe so he can receive an award for his work, Joan makes the decision to walk away from the marriage.
The narrative takes place in two different time periods: the 1950’s when Joe and Joan met and the present time, when the secret of Joe’s success and their marriage is revealed.
Full disclosure, I saw the movie before I read the book. Not surprisingly, changes were made from the narrative in the book to the narrative in the film. That being said, the book stands on its own as a testament not only to a woman’s abilities, but also the unfortunate innate inclination in heterosexual women to subvert their needs, abilities and desires to please their male significant other.
I recommend it.
Compromise is key of any successful long-term relationship, marriage included. But what happens when one half of the relationship compromises to the point of giving themselves up to please the other half?
In the new movie, The Wife (based on the novel of the same name by Meg Wolitzer) Joan Castleman (Glenn Close) has been married to her husband Joe Castleman (Jonathan Pryce) for decades. Joe’s career as a novelist is the stuff of legends. At the beginning of the story, Joe learns that he is to receive a Nobel Prize in literature. While they are in Sweden for the awards ceremony, the secret of their marriage and Joe’s successful career comes into the light.
The film seamlessly jumps between two different time periods: The early 90’s when Joe receives his award and the late 1950’s when Joe and Joan meet. Back then Joan (Annie Starke, Glenn Close’s IRL daughter) was an undergrad who wanted to write. Joe (Harry Lloyd) was Joan’s English professor. Can this marriage survive or will the unspoken dirty laundry of the past destroy it?
This movie is absolutely brilliant, for multiple reasons. Not just because of the supposed happy marriage between Joan and Joe then unravels, but also because of the truth about many women, especially when it comes to love and marriage. In order to keep their relationship/marriage going and their partner/spouse happy, many women will subvert their needs and desires.
I absolutely recommend it. In fact, I would not be surprised if the movie did well come awards season.
The Wife is presently in theaters.
It is often said, that behind every great man, is a great woman. What happens when that woman decides to step up and stand next to or in front of the man, instead of behind him?
Evita (1996), based on the life of Eva Peron, premiered on stage in 1976. 20 years later, Madonna played the titular role on screen.
Eva’s childhood was not a happy one. Her mother was the mistress of wealthy man who was already married, she and her siblings were illegitimate. Denied the right to see their father one last time during his funeral, Eva turned her back on her past as a young woman and set her sights on the stage.
Meeting her husband, Juan (Jonathan Pryce) during a fundraiser to help the victims of an earthquake, Eva sees the potential in him and their relationship. Eventually, Juan Peron will become president of Argentina. Depending on whom one spoke to, Eva would either be loved or hated.
Narrated by Che (Antonio Banderas), he follows her along in life as she moves from the life of an illegitimate child to the wife of the most powerful man in the country.
A the time, there were many comparisons to the stage production and some were not so positive. Fans of the stage production could argue that Madonna’s performance does not hold a candle to either Elaine Page (West End production) or Patti LuPone (Broadway production). Is Madonna the best actress in Hollywood? I would argue no, but the producers knew what they were doing when they cast Madonna.
Is the movie that bad? No, but that depends on whom you speak to.
Do I recommend it? Sure.