After nearly forty years of marriage, Joan and Joe Castleman (Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce) are complements: where Joe is brash, Joan is shy. Where Joe is casual, Joan is elegant. Where Joe is vain, Joan is self-effacing. And where Joe enjoys his very public role as Great American Novelist, Joan pours her considerable intellect, grace, charm, and diplomacy into the private role of Great Man's Wife, keeping the household running smoothly, the adult children in close contact, and Joe's pills dispensed on schedule. At times, a restless discontentment can be glimpsed beneath Joan's smoothly deocrous surface, but her natural dignity and keen sense of humor carry her through the rough spots.
It's 1992 and Joe is about to be awarded the Nobel Prize for his acclaimed and prolific body of work. Joe's literary star has blazed since he and Joan first met in the late 1950s, when she was a demure Smith student and he, her (married) creative writing teacher. THE WIFE interweaves the midcentury story of the couple's youthful passion and ambition with a portraint of a marriage, thirty-plus years later--a lifetime's shared compromises, secrets, betrayals and genuine, mutual love. From 1958 to 1992 to our present vantage point of 2018, we observe Joan and Joe Castleman in the context of their times and ours.