Golden Globe & Critics’ Choice Best Actress (drama): Glenn Close
On paper this is a very simple story, but it is not. It involves a lot of human emotion on both sides including loss of life and dreams, personal inadequacy, patience.
Close plays this ignored, pushed-aside woman like a gathering storm, drawing us into the mind and heart of a heroine who’s not going to take it any more.
A cat-and-mouse game of egos, expectations and psychological flip-flops.
Joan and Joe remain complements after nearly 40 years of marriage. Where Joe is casual, Joan is elegant. Where Joe is vain, Joan is self-effacing. And where Joe enjoys his very public role as the great American novelist, Joan pours her considerable intellect, grace, charm and diplomacy into the private role of a great man’s wife. As Joe is about to be awarded the Nobel Prize for his acclaimed and prolific body of work, Joan starts to think about the shared compromises, secrets and betrayals.
Glenn Close plays a very complex character. The emotion in her eyes is very telling. Her surface appears very calm but underneath there is a storm brewing. She played the game her whole life and you would think that she was used to it and knew what she was doing. But you change in life and I do not think she resented the situation she found yourself in. I think she resented how the world saw her and her husband treated her publicly. Yes, he would constantly thank her as his muse but she was the furthest thing from a muse as you could get. And as she got older and success continued she was so very tired, so very tired of it all.
Watching the film for a second time, with prior knowledge of the revelations of its final act, Close’s performance seemed even more nuanced, as if each look now meant something different. Yet perhaps I had always known exactly where this tale was leading. Close’s face in that opening movement tells you all you need to know about what has happened, and all that is to come. I think that’s what makes it so remarkable.
USA 2018, 100 min, rated M (sexual references & offensive language)
Directed by Björn Runge
Based on the novel by Meg Wolitzer
Starring Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, Max Irons, Christian Slater, Annie Stark & Elizabeth McGovern