Archive for March 24th, 2013

Romance of the Century

W./E.

Ravishingly told!

Ravishingly told!

Madonna’s directorial debut focuses on the stylish romance and subsequent marriage of King Edward VIII to swanky American divorcee Wallis Simpson in 1936 in the period drama W/E sparking the abdication of the King in one of the most scandalous romances of the 20th century. W/E also has a concurrent narrative of a Park Avenue socialite Wally Winthrop who after leaving her job at Sotheby’s Auction House in New York falls into a loveless and cruel marriage with a heavy-drinking and bitter psychiatrist played by Richard Coyle. In both instances Wallis Simpson, played by Andrea Riseborough and the fictional character of New Yorker Wally played by Australian actress Abbie Cornish suffer abuse by their violent  first husbands, Madonna attempts to highlight more the plight of privileged woman physically abused by powerful men.

Not that W/E is just about gender violence, but more about the romance and sacrifice that both King Edward VIII, known as David, played by James D’Arcy and Wallis Simpson enjoyed and endured as their love carried them through the abdication crisis, media scrutiny and lavish exile in France. Not to mention that both Edward and Wallis, who become the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were vilified in the American and British press in the years leading up to the outbreak of World War II for apparently being Nazi sympathizers following a prolific meeting with Hitler in 1937.

Naturally W/E should be seen as a lesser companion piece to the Oscar winning Tom Hooper film The King’s Speech focusing on King George VI also know as Bertie who had to cope with the abdication of his older more articulate brother Edward along with Britain’s eventual entry into World War II in September 1939. The last five years of the 1930’s was an extremely unstable period both politically and socially with many geopolitical changes  occurring rapidly with the military expansion of Nazi Germany in Europe and the impending threat of World War. During the war years the exiled Duke and Duchess of Windsor lived in the Bahamas where he was Govenor according to the fascinating life of Wallis Simpson – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallis_Simpson

Benzedrine in the Champagne

Through historical footage, Madonna shows us not only the historical aspects of this period, but of the lavish and all together captivating love affair which occurred between Edward, the then Prince of Wales and the forthright American from Baltimore Wallis Simpson, as the couple become the darlings of the international Mediterranean party scene from Cannes to Portofino. The Prince of Wales offered gorgeous gifts of custom made Cartier crosses to his love, Wallis Simpson as they frolicked in the surf in the French Riviera. The dashing and charming Edward, who felt nothing of popping Benzedrine into guests Champagne glasses at a Belgravia midnight screening and soon got the party started  with Wallis Simpson, doing a particularly zany thirties jive with pearls flying and music blasting. In this fabulous party scene that W/E depicts Wallis and Edward as the epitome of celebrity chic, the opulent couple worshiped by the established international elite made up of wealthy Americans and Britons who made the French Riviera their fashionable playground.

The Sotheby’s Auction in New York

Whilst the second narrative of Wally befriending a Russian immigrant security guard Evgeni played by Oscar Isaac at the 1998 Sotheby’s  Auction of the gorgeous possessions of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in New York that is lovingly fleshed out in the second part of W/E, it is really also just as significant since Wally eventually travels to Paris to fulfil her obsession with Wallis Simpson by requesting to read the Duchess’s private letters held by Mohamed Al Fayed at the Duke and Duchess’s former Parisian chateau near the Bois du Bologne,  father of Dodi who was killed along with Diana, the Princess of Wales in the fatal 1997 car crash in Paris a year before that makes this quest on Wally’s part both liberating and poignant.

Madonna’s real talent lies in her music but her hand as a director of such an interesting subject as the love affair between Wallis and King Edward should not be discounted as she focuses more on their lavish affair which become internationally known as the Romance of the Century.

From a feminist perspective, Madonna’s lavish film W/E is more about style than substance with engaging shots of New York and Paris, yet even the relevant character sketching scenes portray both the affluent Wally in 1998 and the stylish Wallace in 1936 as emblematic of how woman throughout the centuries no matter how gorgeously attired they are, can also become victims of physical violence and social scorn. The film is adequately assisted by a heart rendering musical score by Abel Korzeniowski and stylish costumes by Arianne Phillips and will appeal to all lovers of stylish period dramas.

*

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
March 2013
M T W T F S S
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
  • Zoe Saldana’s Cinestar Sets Sci-Fi Anime Series at Crunchyroll
    Crunchyroll is developing “Dark Star Squadron,” a space-opera anime series, in partnership with Zoe Saldana’s Cinestar Pictures production shingle. Crunchyroll also announced that it now has more than 5 million paying subscribers and more than 120 million registered users worldwide. AT&T’s $1.2 billion deal to sell Crunchyroll to Sony Pictures — which owns Crunchyroll competitor […]
    Todd Spangler
  • Charles Randolph-Wright, Debra Martin Chase and Olympian Brian Boitano Team for Netflix Ice Skating Movie
    Charles Randolph-Wright, Debra Martin Chase and Olympic gold medalist Brian Boitano have teamed to produce the Netflix family movie “Take the Ice,” set in the world of synchronized ice skating. Written by Deborah Swisher, “Take the Ice” follows a rebellious 15-year-old named Tisha Moore, who has dreamed of becoming an ice skater her entire life. […]
    Angelique Jackson
  • YouTube Shorts Creators Can Now Start Earning up to $10,000 per Month With Viral Videos
    Starting this month, YouTubers in select countries can vie for a piece of the $100 million YouTube Shorts Fund — if their creations rise to the top of the heap of the most-viral clips. Every month, YouTube says, it will select thousands of eligible creators to claim a payment from the fund, which marks the […]
    Todd Spangler
  • ‘Skate Dreams’ Will Spotlight U.S. Olympic Skateboarding Coach Mimi Knoop
    Jessica Edwards is directing and producing “Skate Dreams,” an upcoming documentary about female skateboarders, as the first Olympic competition for them is underway in Tokyo. Produced by Film First, the Brooklyn-based shingle Edwards founded in 2010, the documentary will chronicle the rise of female skateboarding from its origins to its international debut as an Olympic […]
    Ethan Shanfeld
  • Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga Reveal ‘Love for Sale,’ Cole Porter Tribute Album Said to Be Bennett’s Last
    As Tony Bennett celebrates his 95th birthday, and he and Lady Gaga prepare for a two-night stand at Radio City Music Hall beginning tonight, reps for the singer and Lady Gaga have revealed the title, concept and track list for their second collaborative album, “Love for Sale,” a Cole Porter tribute. The Oct. 1 release […]
    Chris Willman
  • Read More
    Different providers offer different cell phones, so take a look at the options from each provider to choose the right one for you. You may also want to look into any promotions that the providers have to offer, such as free cell phones in exchange for signing a contract. Tags: 2gmhass90