Film Review: The Wife

Director Björn Runge’s The Wife is an assured drama which plays to the strengths of its formidable lead.

Joan is the wife of revered author Joe Castleman, who is due to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. As the couple travel to Stockholm for the awards ceremony, Joan questions the choices she has made during the marriage…

Directed by Björn Runge with a screenplay by Jane Anderson, The Wife is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Meg Wolitzer. The film drip feeds information to its viewers, requesting patience as the narrative unfolds. This works to the film’s advantage; the characters are given ample space to develop before the narrative reaches its climax.

The Wife begins at a slow pace, with Anderson exploring the two protagonists and their relationship. As the film progresses, there is a slow propelling towards the awards ceremony, but nothing is rushed. Although the central cause of friction can be predicted, the film unfolds in such a manner that compels nevertheless. The protagonists are richly depicted and multi-faceted. The interspersing of flashbacks with the main strand works well, dropping hints to the reveal in an absorbing manner. When the film does reach its climax, The Wife is thrilling. The three main scenes are explosive, exhibiting great writing and steady direction.

Glenn Close delivers a masterful performance as Joan. In her husband’s shadow, Close is convincing as the dutiful wife. She portrays her character in a most convincing manner, whether knowingly flirtatious or a quiet rage that is all in the eyes and expression. Jonathan Pryce is also great as the demanding author. Christian Slater is most welcome in a small role.

The Wife is a tale of simmering resentment, expertly portrayed by Close. An exemplary performance and a consummate drama.

The Wife is out now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital now.

Previews: Annihilation Trailer, Darkest Hour, More!

Plenty in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the Annihilation trailer, Darkest Hour, Isle of Dogs and more…

Annihilation Trailer

Above is the new Annihilation trailer. The film is based on the best-selling Southern Reach trilogy, and is directed by Alex Garland. The film features an all-star cast, including Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Tessa Thompson. Annihilation is set for release on 23rd February 2018.

Darkest Hour Trailer

Here is the latest trailer for Churchill biopic Darkest Hour. The film focuses on the period just after Winston Churchill becomes prime minister, as Britain is on the cusp of entering World War II. Starring Gary Oldman and directed by Joe Wright (Anna Karenina), Darkest Hour is out in UK cinemas on 12th January 2018.

Father Figures Trailer

Father Figures is a new comedy about two adult brothers who only find out their father is still alive many years after they thought he had died. The film stars Owen Wilson, Ed Helms, Glenn Close, and J.K. Simmons. Father Figures is scheduled for release on 16th February 2018.

Happy Death Day Poster

Happy Death Day is a new thriller about a college student who relives the day of her murder until she finds out the identity of her killer. The film stars Jessica Rothe, and is produced by Blumhouse, the company responsible for Whiplash and Get Out. Happy Death Day will hit UK screens on 20th October 2017.

Isle of Dogs Trailer

Isle of Dogs looks joyful. Wes Anderson’s new film is about a young boy who goes to rescue his dog after all dogs are exiled to a rubbish dump island. The film features a stellar voice cast, including Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, and Tilda Swinton. Isle of Dogs is set for release on 30th March 2018.

Film Review: The Girl With All The Gifts

The Girl With All The Gifts

The Girl With All The Gifts is an atmospheric thriller that engages its audience. The film appeals with its tone, even if the plot is too conventional at times.

Helen is a teacher to students that are bound to wheelchairs and locked in cells – for the safety of the teachers and stuff. She strikes up a rapport with Melanie, a bright young girl. When an incident occurs at the base, Helen and Melanie have to fight for survival…

Based on Mike Carey’s novel (who also writes the screenplay), The Girl With All The Gifts functions as a dystopian thriller. The film is cold and atmospheric rather than a searing horror. Nonetheless, they are very effective moments of tension throughout the film. These are used sparingly, so the film feels like a moderate creep rather than a roller coaster.

Helen is a good protagonist in that she is not as hardened as characters that surround her. The relationship between Melanie and Helen is sweetly portrayed. Their scenes are the most genuine interactions throughout director Colm McCarthy’s film. The pair face threat from within as well as external.

The horror is obvious, what works is the way the film builds up to this. There is a distinct mood to the film which is maintained throughout. As the film progresses, some of the ideas attached to the theme run out of steam. The film falls into familiar trappings in the second half. The brief moments of dark humour in The Girl With All The Gifts work well. The ending of the film is satisfying in its realism.

Gemma Arteton offers a decent performance as Helen. She has good chemistry with Sennia Nanua’s Melanie. Paddy Considine and Glenn Close are perfectly adequate in supoort roles which are not really fleshed out.

The Girl With All The Gifts is an interesting watch, with some great ideas floating around. Although it keeps its strong tone, more could have been done with the narrative.

Film Review: Love, Marilyn

‘We all lose our charms in the end’ sang Marilyn Monroe once upon a time. Marilyn herself never did, which accounts for much of the fascination that the star still holds.

Filmmaker Liz Garbus uses recently uncovered documents to paint a picture of Marilyn Monroe using the actress’ own words. A variety of actors and actresses convey the words of Marilyn from her letters and diaries. Other contributors include friends of the late actress and experts…

Liz Garbus’ documentary on Marilyn Monroe is a fascinating watch. There have been several other documentaries on the star. Garbus’ film differentiates itself from others due to the fact that the emphasis remains on Marilyn Monroe’s own words. As these documents have been recently discovered, the film offers something fresh.

Unlike other documentaries which have been concerned with conspiracies surrounding the actresses’ death or rumours about her private life, Love, Marilyn focuses on her feelings about different aspects of her life. Although the recollections of others do appear, the vast majority of the film concerns Marilyn’s own words.

Love, Marilyn feels less like a traditional documentary due to its style. There is no narrator, instead numerous Hollywood stars read from the diaries and letters of Marilyn and others. There is an array of actors and actresses, including Uma Thurman, Glenn Close and Viola Davis. The fact that different actresses  are used throughout to voice Marilyn rather than just one means that the actress is not imitated. Furthermore, the variety of contributors exhibits the effect Marilyn still has on contemporary Hollywood.

Love, Marilyn is essential viewing for those even with just a passing interest in Marilyn Monroe.

Love, Marilyn is being screened at the London Film Festival in October 2012.