THE MATERIAL GIRL DIRECTS

September 21, 2012

About the catastrophically wasak new movie by Madonna. Like Abbie Cornish? You won’t, in this one.

Scandal in Madonna’s ‘W./E.’

BY KARL R. DE MESA
Posted on 09/17/2012 11:05 AM  | Updated 09/17/2012 11:53 AM

MANILA, Philippines – This isn’t Madonna’s first outing as a director.

Nope, that credit goes to the nearly universally disparaged “Filth and Wisdom” of 2008, a musical dramedy about a cross-dressing Ukrainian immigrant that was so calamitous it went straight to a limited theatrical release and cable on demand.

Looks like the stylistically titled “W./E.” doesn’t fare any better, though it does have ambition aplenty. In the story department alone, the material and the proposed narrative arc look very good on paper.

“You have no idea how hard it is to live out the world’s greatest romance,” goes the pivotal line of Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough), the woman of no great beauty that an English King stepped down from his throne for.

In this film, I think the only apt reply is: you have no idea how tedious Madonna’s made what was considered the 20th century’s greatest scandal.

The W and the E in the title alludes to Wallis Simpson and Edward (James D’Arcy), shorthand for one of the most disastrous scandals in British royal history. Which is to say, the affair between King Edward VIII and the American divorcée (twice divorced, mind you) of the 1930s.

That affair ended in the King abdicating his throne to his stuttering younger brother, who eventually becomes King George VI.

In parallel to that is a romance between a married, battered woman named Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) and a Russian security guard named Evgeni (Oscar Isaac) set in the late 1990s.

Wally and Wallis. There’s a magical realism touch there, giving the two heroines almost the same name.

It’s clearly established that Wally is obsessed with the tale of Wallis and Edward. She haunts the Sotheby’s display of their estate, goes home to an alcoholic husband who wilts whenever they get in bed and is driven almost to madness by her inability to conceive a child — she’s one hormone ampoule away from going over the edge.

As Wallis’ research draws her further into the romance of W and E, she discovers that the couple’s life together was not as perfect as she first thought.

Read the rest of it HERE. 

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