The good wife personajes

Made of honor

In ‘The Good Wife’ Glenn Close plays a woman who is married to a writer who is to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. For decades she has impeccably played the role of the “unsurpassed wife” making both her marriage and her husband’s figure look pristine. But her sacrifice has reached such a limit that she will explode and reveal her best-kept secret.

Jane Anderson, screenwriter of ‘Mad Men’ or ‘The Winner’ wrote this film inspired by the novel of the same name by Meg Wolitzer. She has written very good female characters in her career, like the one played by Frances McDormand in ‘Olive Kitteridge’. The translation of Wolitzer’s work to film did not leave its readers dissatisfied and the film once again brought out the best side of its two leading actors.

We slip silently behind the cameras while the artists shoot and play their roles, while the director pulls the strings of his work. As if we were spectators of the gestation of a work in which we will never really be, or of which we will never become fully a part, as if we were a witness as close as Glenn Close’s Joan Castleman.

How to be a good wife

We’ll have to see if she succeeds in making an idea that has worked on some occasions, but that is by no means infallible -the case most remembered by many is that of Lauren Bacall, who had to stay in her seat when Juliette Binoche’s name was read out. There will be time to talk about it, but what should matter to us now is that Close is excellent in a film that relies on its two protagonists -especially her-, perhaps too much.

‘The Good Wife’ is a film that sits on a lie and the lengths to which its two makers are willing to take it. However, it’s not something that this adaptation of Meg Wolitzer’s novel poses head-on, preferring to see how the events of the past affect the present of Joan, the character played by Close, something that translates into the possibility of a much more nuanced performance that she makes the most of to perfection.

The problem is that these negative consequences also have a downside: the flashbacks never quite work as well and feel like they’re dragging out a revelation that the viewer sees coming too soon. In addition, they also lack Close, which causes another drop in interest. To be fair, there’s nothing in the flashbacks that’s annoying, but it does feel more conventional, taking the shine off the film.

Made for each other

But all these sacrifices and renunciations seem to have reached their limit when her husband is awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in recognition of all his work. On the eve of the award ceremony, events are precipitated and Joan reveals very delicate matters.

I enjoyed Jane Anderson’s screenplay, adapted from the novel written by American Meg Wolitzer, The Wife, which deals with the ambition and subjugation of a husband to his spouse with absolute arbitrariness. In a play that is more theatrical than narrative, at the beginning, the spouses are presented as a happy, well-adjusted couple.

I remember now a very humiliating sexist statement that “behind a great man there is always a great woman”. In this film we can see, with the impudence of the saying, how, faced with an unbearable and conceited husband, she is left in a marginal position, depressed by the presumed male moral superiority.

It is true that the film lacks rhythm and leaves half-developed subplots. But the most certain thing of all is that this work wants to remember all those wives who left everything for their husband and family.  Without forgetting the dramatic weight that an excellent Glenn Close has in the film, who offers a smiling gesture and at the same time sad, and a lost look: a woman who claims from the depths of her being, her own voice and prominence.

Battle of the sexes

Technically speaking, the film plays it safe, without taking any risks or proposing anything new or interesting. The chronology of the story is interrupted on several occasions to take us to the beginning of the relationship between Joan and Joe. The flashbacks don’t always work, as the actors playing the main characters lack the strength and passion that Pryce and Close exude in their performances. The performance (and British accent) of Max Irons, who plays the couple’s son, also becomes another distraction, especially when it comes to playing the lead couple.

Despite presenting us with a conventional melodrama, The Wife carries a message that is relevant to the times we live in. It is a story of female empowerment that offers us one of the best female performances of 2018. Glenn Close will surely take home the golden statuette at the next Academy Awards and she more than deserves it. Close goes from being a kingmaker to occupying the throne. She is the true queen, the one who holds the crown.