Oh, Madonna, you with your puffy little chipmunk cheeks and sink plunger lips – you are fabulous. But what to say about this. Well, it was the most bonkers night I’ve ever had at LFF. By a mile. Two miles, even. The woman sitting next to me stole my chocolate. Oh, and I saw Valentino. So there’s a few things. And the much awaited arrival of Madonna on the red carpet caused a grown man to cry because she didn’t sign an autograph, and was followed by mass hysteria in the aisles when she swept inside – the woman next to me (face smudged with my chocolate) practically pole vaulted out of her seat. It was not your average festival screening, no. And in the middle of it all, there was a film.
So what to say. I didn’t buy a ticket because I was expecting a great film, to be fair, I was just curious and thought maybe I would be pleasantly surprised. I wasn’t. It’s easy to take a pop at W.E. – the clumsy script, the whitewashing over some of the more dubious aspects of Wallis and Edward’s lives, the soundtrack that smacks you round the face repeatedly and the abysmal contemporary storyline are all obvious targets. There are plenty of other reviews out there that’ll fill you in on these pleasures in more detail, I’ll spare you it here.
What I will say is that Andrea Riseborough does an impeccable Wallis and you don’t once catch her rolling her eyes after delivering some of the more toe curling lines. And Madonna does have an eye for what looks good on camera, the sets and costumes are stunning. I half wondered whether if she’d focused on the W&E story, thrown out the seriously bad romcom bits and got herself a decent script editor, she might have got away with this. Then I remembered Wallis Simpson dancing to Pretty Vacant and my ears and eyes both started bleeding at once.
I can only think the standing ovation was because people were desperate to escape. Well, Madge, at least you got to work out some of that post divorce angst…