The Wife [OST]
I first was aware of Jocelyn Pook as film composer for her work on the score to Eyes Wide Shut. From there I’ve continued to check in with her various musical projects – including theatre and film scores, solo albums and contributions to pop bands. She’s a player, composer and arranger and her music for the film The Wife is a stirring triumph.
I believe that the very best film scores should be a character in the film. And that’s the case with Pook’s music here. Actually, much of this music works as an assistant, a support-player to Glenn Close’s fine performance.
The Wife is a wonderful drama and for all the accolades Close has received – all deserved – it’s worth mentioning that this is very much a two-hander in the star stakes, Jonathan Pryce is amazing in his portrayal of studied, stuffy arrogance.
But Glenn Close is a person in the shadows. We see only some of her shelved ego. Allowing us into other parts of her mindset, propelling her clinical, no-nonsense approach is Pook’s tender score.
I’m reminded of Philip Glass’ work for The Hours in terms of the music adding meaning, contributing to the layers and layering, and Pook helps to capture the Ingmar Bergman-esque tone of this film with this music.
Several of the cues here (The Faculty Wife, The Speech, His Soul Swooned Slowly) use delicate piano and strings to slowly rachet not so much a tension but a sweet, sorrowful wistfulness – this is nostalgia (in the true meaning of the word) in musical form. It is the shape of stoicism and pragmatism; it hints at a secret pact. So beautifully echoing the themes of the film with a subtlety and grace that echoes the motivations behind Close’s character and the performances by her and Pryce.
I haven’t wanted to get the film out of my head – the balm has been having the score to listen to, divorced from the film’s action and yet somehow acting as gentle reminder of the magic in this movie; that’s the true test for me of a really great film score. Further proof too that this soundtrack is indeed a character all of its own, and here all on its own.