By Seija Rankin
July 17, 2018 at 10:00 AM EDT

Audiences know Glenn Close. They love Glenn Close. For decades she’s been occupying the screen — both big and small — in ways very few have been able to do on her level. Whether she’s turning affection into stalking in Fatal Attraction, channeling her inner villain in 101 Dalmations, or sending a chill down the spine of every person in the courtroom in Damages — she’s made a living acting out. 

Her latest role is anything but. 

In The Wife, Close plays, well, a wife. A wife in every sense of the word: the longtime partner to a famous author, who has spent decades tending to the needs (and raising the children) of a literary sensation. The flick opens as the couple is traveling to the Nobel Prize ceremony so that Joe Castleman (played by Jonathan Pryce) can collect his supposedly hard-earned winnings. It’s an event loaded with pretense and full of triggers for Close’s Joan, who audiences will quickly learn can add dealing with the fallout of an adulterous husband to her résumé.

The Wife follows the explosive repercussions that the Nobel prize reaps on the Castleman family, most of which plays out behind closed doors and is portrayed by Joan’s quiet — but breathtaking — reactions. In short, this is Glenn Close’s world, and everyone else is just living in it. In EW’s exclusive clip above, from one of the film’s tensest moments, watch as Joan’s shell begins to crack after Joe returns from another one of his…er, extracurricular activities.

The Wife — which also stars Christian Slater, Elizabeth McGovern, and Max Irons — hits theaters Aug. 17.

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