“TheWife is a 2017 drama film directed by Björn Runge and written by Jane Anderson, based on the novel of the same name by Meg Wolitzer. It stars Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, and Christian Slater, and follows a wife who questions her life choices as she travels to Stockholm with her narcissistic husband, who is set to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.”
The movie, The Wife, grabs the attention of the audience from the beginning to the end, portraying a complicated female character, Joan, a private talented writer who internalizes her dreams and sacrifices her name to make her husband a “king”. Why does she mysteriously endure her husband's egoistic and deceitful manner with her silence?
In Joseph Castleman’s life with his wife Joan, everything seems in harmony until the call from Stockholm, announcing that he is the recipient of the Nobel Prize for literature. In the trip to Sweden, the suppressed truth unravels. It’s the time that Joan, the wife “who is a king maker” starts to question her entire life. Nathaniel Bone, Joseph Castleman’s biographer, challenges Joan to speak up. It's through the flashbacks, that the story unfolds. We see the graceful young Joan whose life is completely revolved around writing, falls in love with the married young professor Castleman. Later a frustrated female writer discourages her from becoming a writer. She declares disappointingly that in a male dominated society, publishers suppress women’s voices.
The question is why does the wife continue to sublimate her rights to be recognized as the true writer of her husband’s book? Why does she stay with her husband despite the vibrant social changes, women rights movement which improved women’s lives in 1960s. Love? Fear? Despair? Distrust? Desiring stable family? Or social and economic security?
The Wife resembles stories of many women writers throughout the history. Women who had to hide their identities in order to reveal their true self.