BEHIND ANY GREAT MAN, THERE’S ALWAYS A GREATER WOMAN.
In 1992, famous author Joseph Castleman (Jonathan Pryce) learns that he’s won the Nobel Prize in literature; together with his wife Joan (Glenn Close) he heads to Sweden, but their marriage is in for a challenge. The tagline pretty much sums up the message of the film. The part Joan really played in the rise of the revered author’s career is slowly revealed, explained partly by flashbacks to the 1950s when they first met… but it’s not really meant to be a huge surprise. What’s more important is the compelling study of a couple (and family) in crisis, and how women have constantly been expected to stand back. Close and Pryce are both magnificent.
2018-Britain-Sweden-U.S. 99 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Jo Bamford, Claudia Bluemhuber, Rosalie Swedlin, Meta Louise Foldager Sørensen. Directed by Björn L. Runge. Screenplay: Jane Anderson. Novel: Meg Wolitzer. Editing: Lena Runge. Cast: Glenn Close (Joan Castleman), Jonathan Pryce (Joseph Castleman), Christian Slater (Nathaniel Bone), Max Irons, Harry Lloyd, Annie Starke… Elizabeth McGovern, Karin Franz Körlof, Jan Mybrand, Johan Widerberg.
Trivia: The editor is the director’s wife; Starke, who plays the young Joan, is Close’s daughter. Gary Oldman was allegedly considered for Pryce’s part.
Golden Globe: Best Actress (Close).
Last word: “I can’t work on a project unless I have a passion for the script. I had a passion for this script and with that, you can survive anything where nothing happens and you don’t know if anything or nothing is going to happen. It was close to being nothing. I even got an email from Jane Anderson, the screenwriter who apologized for it not coming to life. She wrote, ‘Maybe we’ll collaborate in the future.’ I replied, ‘It’s not over yet, it’s too good to not be a film.’ Three or four weeks later we secured an English company to the production and it’s so strange when you think something is going to die, from the minute I read it to now, I thought it was too good to let die.” (Runge, Awards Daily)