I was excited to see this movie, mainly because I really like Glenn Close. She was excellent as always. But this was one of the most annoying movies I’ve ever seen. The premise of the story is that Glenn Close’s husband has just won the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature for his long body of work. We learn that he is a womanizer, has a bad relationship with their son, and is quite full of himself. We also learn–and here’s your spoiler alert to stop reading if you’re going to see this movie–that he doesn’t write his own novels. Through flashbacks, we discover that Close’s character was told as a student at Smith College in the 1950s that her work would never be read by men because she is a woman. Her husband is a hack writer with a promising idea but no talent to turn it into a salable book. So Close’s character “fixes” the novel. And it receives critical acclaim. She continues to write novels under his name and he continues to take credit for them. She continues with this ruse even after his many affairs, his caddish behavior, his bullying of their son. The present day story is about her resentment in Sweden as he is fawned over as a genius. There is a biographer who has a theory that she is the true author but this character exists only so that we, the audience, know the truth about the situation. She seems on the verge of revealing the truth when, conveniently the husband dies of a long-telegraphed heart attack. She then vows never to reveal the truth. There were so many problems with this story that it is hard to articulate them all. But there is no need to enumerate them all. I’ll just point out this one. He is winning this Nobel in 1992. Nadine Gordimer won in 1991 and Toni Morrison won in 1993. By then, The Wife’s theory that no one would read her work because she’s a woman must have been proven wrong even to herself, right?
The only reason I gave the movie 2 stars instead of 1 is because of Glenn Close.
At Red River Theater with Ann and Pat (and we were all annoyed!)
I am currently Professor of Digital Media at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. I am also the current Coordinator of General Education at the University. I am interested in game studies, digital literacies, open pedagogies, and generally how technology impacts our culture.