Published: 19 January, 2012
by DAN CARRIER
Directed by Madonna
Rating: 1 Out Of 5 Stars
Madonna has a rather large and financially lucrative back catalogue of pop hits.
She obviously never needs to work again, but if she needs something to pass the time, then why not go on the odd tour and tickle the nostalgia bone for her 1980s heyday, or find a producer who can get her singing stuff she wants to do?
Whatever the mega-rich star is up to, she should never be allowed to go anywhere near a director’s camera again.
This film, which is a weird biopic of Wallis Simpson, interspersed with the tale of a woman living in contemporary times who becomes infatuated by the Edward and Mrs Simpson story, is utterly lacking in any clarity, or any redeeming features, and even has super-dodgy moments of making excuses for the Prince of Wales’ well-known admiration for Nazi Germany.
It is basically a horrible film to watch.
Wally (Abbie Cornish) is a woman in present day New York married to a psychiatrist. His successful public life hides a horrible truth that all is not rosy at home.
They drink and fight, particularly over whether they should have children or not, and then her husband turns horribly violent.
She finds salvation when she discovers Sotheby’s are organising an auction of Wallis Simpson’s effects and becomes infatuated by her story.
We then watch as the story flip-flops from Wally’s tale of splitting up with her husband and falling in love with a security guard at Sotheby’s, to the Wallis and Edward VIII love affair and the abdication crisis.
It is piffle of the highest order.
Some scenes will actually make you want to throw something at the screen, and that we are meant to care for a woman who is privileged enough to go to an auction of Wallis Simpson’s possessions and spend $10,000 on a pair of gloves is beyond me.
There are signs that show how far detached Madonna is from the real world. One scene is supposed to endear Edward to the audience.
He visits poor folk in South Wales.
It is nauseating – Madge has smeared the peasantry’s face with mud, as if being poor means you simply can’t be bothered to wash.
Every scene has something that grates – stilted dialogue annoys, as does the weird use of slow motion in certain parts as the lead character sways about, as if she were walking on a catwalk, like the use of accordion music when our lead goes to France.
There are also dark undercurrents which are never fully explored and make this film seem even more shallow.
There are some unpleasant scenes of domestic violence but this important issue is quickly brushed under the carpet.
There is absolutely no saving grace to this whatsoever, except possibly one minor thought: some of the dresses worn in the 1930s segments reminded me of an exhibition at the V&A a few years back.
It allowed me to daydream for a split second about something other than the dire scenes going on in front of me.
This film is nothing more than an expensive vanity project for its director – which is a little like the Royal Family’s role for the British upper classes.
What a truly stomach turning way to spend a couple of hours!