‘Colette’ Kiera Knightley’s new biopic star vehicle and ‘The Wife’ Glenn Close’s Oscar worthy performance for Best Actrss deal with similar dramtic territory. Where do all ghostwriters in general – but women in particular – stand in the literary canon? What happens when they find their footing in the limelight rather than steering from behind in the shadows? The heart of these two films speaks to what happens to a person whose efforts are attributed to another, who are not acknowledged for their own contributions and accomplishments.
For starters our protagonists’ close cousins of self-esteem and self-worth take a mighty pre-woke hit. What is the difference you may ask? Self-esteem is based on your actions, what you have control over. Self-worth is related to identity, an overall feeling of importance and value in this world.
In ‘The Wife’ the specter of lies reverberate through an entire family system. For the Close character and the son (Harry Lloyd) who also has trouble finding his voice. The twin problems of self-esteem and self-worth are rectified in our heroines’ lifetimes; more so for Colette, as she has a second chance of a whole new career. There’s still hope for the Close character as she begins to spread her wings to inhabit the full force of her being as she rises and comes forward. In ‘The Wife,’ the children of Close, have a chance to reclaim the truth of their childhood memories and a shot at a re-invigorated sense of purpose in life. What this means for the generations is our story.
Beaux Artes never looked so enticing and contemporary as it does in Colette
After marrying a successful Parisian writer known commonly as “Willy” (Dominic West), Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Keira Knightley) is transplanted from her childhood home in rural France to the intellectual and artistic splendor of Paris 100 years ago. Soon after, Willy convinces Colette to ghostwrite for him. She pens a semi-autobiographical novel about a witty and brazen country girl named Claudine, sparking a bestseller and a cultural sensation.
After its success, Colette and Willy become the talk of Paris and their adventures inspire additional Claudine novels. Colette’s fight over creative ownership defies gender roles and drives her to overcome societal constraints, revolutionizing literature, fashion and sexual expression. Directed by Wash Westmoreland and written by Wash Westmoreland, Richard Glatzer, Rebecca Lenkiewicz.
The Nobel Prize in Literature never looked so bad as it does in ‘The Wife’
After nearly forty years of marriage, Joan and Joe Castelman (Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce) are complementary bookends. 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. 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 1950’s.
‘The Wife’ interweaves the story of the couple’s youthful passion and ambition with a portrait of a marriage, thirty-plus years later—a lifetime’s shared compromises, secrets, betrayals, and mutual love based on Meg Wolitzer’s novel.
Originally published at onmogul.com