Joe and Joan Castleman (Jonathan Pryce and Glenn Close, respectively) play a husband and wife. Joe has been writing for several years and informs everyone that “his wife doesn’t write.” Then he’s informed that he’s won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and takes Joan and their son David (Max Irons) to Stockholm, Sweden to accept the award.
This film had more twists than one might expect for a drama, or a movie about this subject matter, so for that I am very impressed that they could make this an emotional, character-driven piece that also has a compelling plot told in an interesting way. Take note Oscar contenders, this is how Oscar movies should be made.
Aside from the compelling story, I also have to applaud the acting. Pryce, Close, and Irons are all great, but so is young Joe and Joan (Harry Lloyd and Annie Starke, respectively) that we see in the flashbacks, taking up more than a quarter of the film, but they do it so well I hardly noticed that we were watching different actors than the principal cast. Also, Christian Slater plays a biographer who wants to make Joe the subject of his next book. Though he’s not a huge part in the film, he plays the character beautifully.
One last complement, that’s the music throughout the film is particularly good. Jocelyn Pook is a terrific composer and she shows it here just as much as all the films she’s scored.
I don’t have much to complain about, though there’s something about the ending that didn’t really jive with me, though I can’t talk about it without spoiling something.
+8: Great drama with an excellent story
+1: Terrific acting
+1: Great score
-1: Just minor complaints I have about the ending and conveniences