This Is Why You Should Pay Closer Attention To The Films of Glenn Close And Lady Gaga - MEGA
This Is Why You Should Pay Closer Attention To The Films of Glenn Close And Lady Gaga
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This Is Why You Should Pay Closer Attention To The Films of Glenn Close And Lady Gaga

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Nothing more than an awards season fictional rivalry, we look back at the performances of Glenn Close and Lady Gaga and learn how they are more similar than not. A celebration of the woman and her strength, this is why you should watch their milestone-making turns in The Wife and A Star Is Born.

Related: The Best Beauty Looks From The 2019 Oscars
When Lady Gaga tied with Glenn Close for Best Actress at the Critics Choice Awards in January this year, I didn’t quite wrap my head around this. This isn’t to discredit one or the other for the work that they put in for their respective films, but as a film and TV awards nerd, I had always just assumed that there would be one eventual winner for prized accolades such as this. Or you know, perhaps it was a ratings stir. Maybe at some point, the two would eventually duke it out Hunger Games-style for the star-shaped trophy on stage. But clearly that never happened outside the perimeters of my highly vivid mind. Instead, Glenn Close and Lady Gaga shared the stage and award, expressing a mutual profound respect for the other.
It was in itself a victory for women, as society has long pitted many a woman against another over the years. In a stride that uplifted and heightened the feminist movement, as well as of artistic merit, it was a milestone worth celebrating.

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But still, I couldn’t help but wonder how the season’s frontrunner (Close) would figure in a tie with pop star and perennial irreverent, who at some point lost steam in the Best Actress race. (On the flipside, she, alongside her musical cohorts were the ones to beat for Best Original song with their track, Shallow.) A legendary and well-decorated actress of our time, Glenn Close is miles ahead of Gaga, who credits A Star Is Born as her first film feature. So, with days leading up to the recently concluded Oscars race, I finally hunkered down and watched all of the films in the running for the major awards, including Close’s The Wife.
What was intended to be a follow-through with a personal tradition eventually shed light to how the narratives of Joan Castleman (The Wife) and Ally Maine (A Star Is Born) is more similar than not, proving perhaps why the aforementioned tie makes more sense than initially thought of.
(Fair warning: Moderate spoilers abound.)
BY THE MAN
The parallelism skids through more closely on many fronts. Employing fairly different literary devices, A Star Is Born follows a more linear approach, charting the rise of its heroine from struggling artist to bonafide pop star with the weight of her husband on her shoulders, while The Wife throws us right into the thick of things, eventually just lifting the velvet curtain of plot twists that shake the perceived life of Joan and her newly minted Nobel Laureate husband, Professor Joseph Castleman.

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As the runtime wears through, it becomes apparent that this is the story of strong, able and more than competent women behind the luminary figures of their partners. (Although it is important to note that the gleam of the term is more in the past than the film’s present for Jackson Maine in A Star Is Born.) As the premise further reveals the motives and history of its players, the cracks reveal a flash of light that is a veritable swindling of preconceptions from the beginning. In The Wife, Glenn Close’s turn as the dutifully serving wife to a literary genius is incomparably graceful and unerringly reserved. It is the kind of quiet that speaks volumes with nothing more than a subtext-laden gaze, weighted breaths, and pursing of the lips. Even as the story’s truth is threatening the life they have written for themselves, there is no visible contempt for Mrs. Coleman, up until the last act where in the pretext of looking back at her life, she gains a hold of a future of liberty that is perhaps her life’s greatest exhale.

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Meanwhile, Lady Gaga inimitably breathes a fully realized sense of life to Ally Maine, one that is bursting at the seams with rambunctious energy, raw passion, and redefined purpose. While it can be argued that the pop star template is perhaps a little too close for comfort to Lady Gaga, the story takes off when she latches on to Bradley Cooper’s Jackson Maine, renowned rock star with a dangerous liaisons to his troubled past. Initially a little shy, Ally Maine’s star takes on a life of its own, eventually eclipsing that of her husband. While a little more volatile, Ally Maine is also just as committed to her husband as Joan Coleman in The Wife, even curbing her steady rise for the sake of a quiet life in love.
BREAKING THE FOURTH WALL
Make no mistake about it though. This isn’t your standard schlep of a behind every successful man there is a woman cliché, because as these films illustrate: these men would be nothing if it were not for being moored to the anchor of their wife. Fully aware of their capabilities, both Joan and Ally are content with building a life with their husbands, even if it means tempering their own dreams for a unified whole. As it stands to be their life’s greatest sacrifice, it is equally a testament to their tenacious spirit and strength of character.
It is inexplicably realized in the moments before the films draws to a close where reality seems to finally drapes itself on Joan Coleman and Ally Maine. Similarly looking straight on to camera, as if breaking the fourth wall, both women face their truth—that they are the woman they perceived from the get-go, this time without a shadow to find comfort in. This spine-tingling shattering of discernment brings them together, albeit in very different milieus. Sharing a bond in the landscape of film isn’t unheard of, but this one is the beauty of parallelism at work.

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As Glenn Close and Lady Gaga have held hands, sharing their well-deserved joint win, it is as if their characters are finally interfacing in their shared narrative. It is poignant to a very scrutinizing observer, seeing their work, fictional and otherwise, be heralded for its moving and rousing capacity. You see, women aren’t so different by any scope or breadth. And as human beings, it is our responsibility to not only their truths and how they live it, but also to ease on the unnecessary head-to-head baiting in mainstream media. With A Star Is Born and The Wife, we are taught that the woman not only deserves their time in the sun, but that we should believe that they can and should run with it into the horizon of possibilities. This way, they can be very much encouraged to stand their ground.
While neither of these women won the Oscar for their beautiful turns in their respective films, the mere fact that their stories and truths took its time in the spotlight, further sparking a conversation as we have done, is already a triumph in itself. In this capacity, it is with much hope that every Ally Maine or Joan Coleman in you gets stirred, prompting you to take the reins and strike out a victory that is unequivocally and unapologetically you.

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