Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

Want more recommendations for your family?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration

Parents' Guide to

The Wife

By Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Close shines in drama with strong language, adult themes.

Movie R 2018 100 minutes
The Wife Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 4+
age 15+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (1 ):

This uneven drama is elevated by Close's award-worthy lead performance. The Wife is guided by a clear intelligence from the page (Jane Anderson adapted it from Meg Wolitzer's novel), which can be both delightful and awkward. The same characters who describe genitalia as "tumescent" or complain of "agita" seem to have trouble spitting out "f--k" (though they still do it quite often). Nail-on-head exchanges add to the "on the page" feeling of the material, as when a male editor in a 1960s publishing house says a manuscript is "great," but it's by a "lady writer" and "from the point of view of this woman," so they move on. Perhaps as a result, some of the performances are conveyed in large gestures … but not by Close. Never by Close.

The decorated veteran delivers one of the finest performances of her storied career as Joan. There's no visible effort to convince us of anything; She simply is that person. Her inner life is remarkable. We see the cracks develop. We see her awakening. For connoisseurs of acting, what Close delivers is a feast. She's loving and resentful and supportive and repressed and fiercely intelligent and bursting to break free. Where, for instance, Slater's fine work is sometimes hamstrung by, shall we say, a lack of subtlety in the writing (not in his acting -- observe his intrusive body language as he speaks ingratiatingly), in the lead, Close hums right over the top of it all. She becomes this fascinating woman.

Movie Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate