Dear Madge, A word from fellow working mums. Is there anything you can’t do? Singing, acting, dancing, writing, directing, endless self-definition: do you think, maybe, that the range of your activities indicates an interest in breadth rather than depth? The rich spread of surface effect throughout W.E. – what a comment on the stunning dresses, silver tableware and flopping fringes to which Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII seem to have dedicated only slightly more time than you have – creates an eye-catching show. And bespoke hats off to Andrea Riseborough for slipping into those gorgeous capris. But can it account for the loss of a throne and subsequent loss of identity? If so, then that throne … but we won’t go there.
Then there’s that second storyline: about an unhappily married young matron in contemporary Manhattan whose fascination with Simpson is a foil for her own precariously defined identity. So Wally Winthrop’s quest turns over a few facets of Simpson’s realisation that she’s stuck for life with a bit of a wet blanket. The subtext of this movie is that true love does not vanquish all – yet you end, strangely, with a stylish little affirmation of traditional family values. Okay, okay: those that can, do; those that can’t, review. We hear you – and look forward to reviewing your third film. This was better than the first. You’re on a roll. Here’s to hoping!
W.E. | Directed by Madonna (UK 2011) with Abbie Cornish, James D’Arcy, Andrea Riseborough. Starts June 21