SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2016
By Don Simpson | January 26, 2016
Director: Mirjana Karanovic
Writer: Mirjana Karanovic
Starring: Mirjana Karanovic, Boris Isakovic, Hristina Popovic, Bojan Navojec, Marko Nikolic, Ksenija Marinkovic, Jasna Djuricic, Vlado Kerosevic
The titular good wife, Milena (Mirjana Karanovic) is dutifully intent upon pleasing her husband. Middle-aged Milena works hard to keep up her appearance, carefully primping in front of the mirror, especially before entertaining guests or going to bed — the latter as a means to maintain an active, albeit monotonous and probably not enjoyable, sex life with her husband (Boris Isakovic). A mother of three grown children (two of which have moved away from home), Milena is often alone in their gated, upscale suburban house in Belgrade. She keeps the house immaculately clean and does all of the cooking for the household.
An intimately resonating character study, Mirjana Karanovic’s The Good Wife quietly contemplates Milena’s tidy and structured existence as it is disrupted by skeletons of the Balkan War. The discovery of a secret festers deep inside of Milena’s soul like a cancer, forcing her to act outside of her usual comfort zone of submissiveness and servitude; but, nonetheless, Milena approaches the situation with great stoicism.
The Good Wife subtly showcases emotional intensity by way of mere glances and gestures. Cinematographer Erol Zubcevic’s ever-probing camera utilizes Milena’s face as a canvas to reveal the heavily guarded turmoil stirring inside of her. Karanovic’s film also intelligently presents the evils of ethnic cleansing by way of the guilt that suppurates within the country responsible for the atrocities. While xenophobes may selfishly believe that mass genocide will quell their fear of “others,” they fail to consider how their actions will impact the world around them, especially their friends and family. In other words, The Good Wife would be a good film for people [who] like Donald Trump to watch.