Directed by Madonna

> > Sep 09 2011

W.E. - Directed by Madonna
By Robert BellEven though Madonna has proven to be a shrewd businesswoman with a nose for cultural trends, developing the relationships and industry reputation to get the backing for a feature film doesn't necessarily mean that she should have. In fact, there's really nothing to suggest skill set similarities between making a movie and singing badly while dancing around on a stage in leotards, occasionally dry humping a bed, dancer or stray set decoration.

And just like Filth & Wisdom, W.E. proves this with aplomb, being little more than a laughable, desultory mess with a ridiculously superficial and strained perspective masked by absurdly mishmashed editing and amateurish footage. Perhaps if it had just been another pretentious vanity piece like Wisdom, this could be forgivable, but this time Madonna felt compelled to crap on Wallis Simpson (Andrea Risebrough) and King Edward VIII (James Darcy) in the process.

Juxtaposing the story of Wallis and King Edward ― wherein he renounced his throne to be with the twice divorced American woman ― with that of a depressed and potentially schizophrenic trophy wife similarly named Wally (Abbie Cornish), W.E. attempts, unsuccessfully, to mirror the loss of personal freedoms and anonymity with marrying rich.

Both women get the shit kicked out of them ― quite vividly ― and have the same flair for overacting, but share very little else beyond fashion as a necessary evil to titillate men, who are "visual creatures." What this means is that they sit around in lacy underwear in front of a mirror a great deal looking despondent, when not dipping into each other's lives like ghosts to offer an insult or supporting word.

If this weren't a weak enough template for a film, Madonna's approach to the material drives the B.S. meter up to maximum with a constant soundtrack to compensate for the fact that none of the shots fit together or have any sort of self-conscious, organic flow. There are random close-ups of eyeballs, slow motion scenes of people walking, shots of incidental crap lying around and inexplicable hand-held sequences of scenes intended to provide clarity.

None of this is intended as genre subversion or an emotional contrast, rather it's a demonstration of filmmaking ineptitude by someone out of their element. Of course, there is something intriguing about watching a film that has absolutely no awareness of itself.
Mailing List
Google Bookmarks
You sound like you just don't like Madonna at all, so I doubt she stood a chance at an unbiased opinion from your review. Your critique of her as a musical performer proves that. Of course those that can't, criticize.
Start Conversation
For something that was supposed to be a review of a film, you sure make it clear what your intentions really are: "dis" Madonna at all costs. You even made sure to criticize (very negatively) her performances on stage, as a singer in an article that should be about a film she directed.
I guess that proves how incompetent YOU are as a journalist. Did you even see the film? I saw it in Venice and I thought it was great. And unlike what some biased reviewers have said (people like you), the crowd loved it and at the end, there was a standing ovation.
Start Conversation
Is this a movie critic? Or Madonna critic?
Start Conversation
Question: What are Robert Bell's credentials?
Start Conversation
I think the first paragraph shows the writer's anti-Madonna bias and the rest trashes the film. At least the bias is made clear up front. I've read way more negative reviews of this film than positive ones and I think some of those negative reviews are from people that love Madonna as a performing artist.
Start Conversation
Is this a sequel to Wall - E? If so, I'll go!
Start Conversation
Hmmm...well I too saw the move and although it didn't measure up so much in terms of all the attributes a really great feature film should have I think she did a pretty good job considering this is her first foray into the industry. So - about the film. The beginning 30 minutes were a bit choppy as she tried to layout the correlation between Wallace Simpson and the Wally of the 1990's...the cuts back and forth weren't fluid however once you figured out that the 2 were leading 'similar' lives in terms of their marrital woes the rest of the movie was easy to follow. Wallace Simpson was extraordinary in her role and did an excellent job. Finding true love at the end didn't seem to pan out for her though, whereas we are lead to believe that the current day Wally finds it with a Russian security guard at Sotheby's - a bit of a stretch! The concept was an interesting one - showing the story from the side of Wallace Simpson and the lessons she learned that she was trying to pass on to the current day Wally through apparitions of herself in unusual places and at unusual times. The ending was a bit of a let down, and there were a few points in the movie that obviously weren't historically accurate but exaggerated to make better movie viewing, I suppose. All in all it's worth watching only if to see how this new director does on her first feature film ever - it's not awful, just not excellent but who is on the first time?
Start Conversation
Robert Bell's review is actually quite tame in the way he disses Madonna, certainly compared to some of the other reviews this film has been getting... The Guardian's review springs to mind. I'm surprised that people are reacting so strongly... besides which, considering the agressive way in which Madonna markets herself as a musician and fashionista, I don't think her or her fans can really cry foul when this colours critics' perception of her. I think Bell was just being honest by getting whatever biases he may have had in his system on the table from the start before getting on with his review.
Start Conversation
Just remember Madonna has more fans than this poor lonesome critic
Start Conversation
Funny but now W.E (W.C) has been released in the UK, the critics are out doing themselves to dump on this film. Does every film critic hate Madge, or is it simply a truely terrible movie?
Start Conversation
Once again, the ravenous Madonna fans lash out at someone that hated her film. Has she ever produced a "good" movie? Nope. Has she ever received critical acclaim for her movies? Nope. Here it is, 1 year later, and did the movie do well? Nope. This review is SPOT ON. Period.
Start Conversation
Keep me logged in
Prove You Are Not a Robot
To remove this step go back and login.


Most Popular Stories

  1. Ryan Adams Calls Out Fan for Triggering Ménière's Episode Onstage with Her Camera FlashNEWS: Ryan Adams Calls Out Fan for Triggering Ménière's Episode Onstage with Her Camera Flash
  2. Circa Survive - 'Descensus' (album stream)MUSIC / VIDEO: Circa Survive 'Descensus' (album stream)
  3. Devin Townsend - An Alien Among UsTIMELINE: Devin Townsend An Alien Among Us

Latest Issue: Nov 14 Issue