Glenn Close’s performance as Joan Castleman – the wife of the title – has been vaunted as a career peak by some and she certainly gives everything she has. Unfortunately, she has so much more than the script can accommodate and what we see on screen is an incredibly talented actress paralleling the frustration of her character, a talented writer, in trying to realise her potential in a world that stifles her ambition.
Joan is married to famous writer and soon to be Nobel Prize recipient, Joe Castleman (Jonathan Pryce). Joan is virtually subservient to her husband, dutiful and patient and even forgiving of his carnal transgressions. By degrees, though, their long marriage begins to crumble under the weight of a secret that cannot withstand the dissonance of Joe being awarded the highest honour in literature. Max Irons plays the aspiring writer and neglected son who is too morose to empathise with. Christian Slater is interesting but under-utilised as the persistent would-be biographer, Nathaniel Bone. Overall, it feels unsophisticated and lands disappointingly short.
Reviewed by Rita Bratovich