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Review: W.E.

Madonna's directorial debut
By PETER KEOUGH  |  February 7, 2012
0.5 0.5 Stars

Nobody does vulgarity like Madonna, especially when she's being tasteful, as in her directorial debut of this grotesque biopic. She begins in Shanghai in 1918 as Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough, channeling Thelma Ritter) is beaten into a miscarriage by her first husband, then jumps ahead to 1934, as, with a new hubby, Simpson socializes with the future Edward VIII (James D'Arcy). The two fall in love, she gets divorced, they marry, he abdicates. Scandal follows. Oh, and World War II starts (see The King's Speech). Meanwhile, in 1998, another Wallis (Abbie Cornish), or "Wally," hangs around a Sotheby's exhibit of her namesake's things and has flashbacks to Simpson's life, which parallels her own. Conveniently, Simpson appears and offers advice, kind of like The Iron Lady with Riseborough in the Jim Broadbent role. Then, asserting her independence, Wally buys Simpson's gloves at auction. And that thing about Edward being a Nazi? Paparazzi rumors.

  Topics: Reviews , Movie Reviews, Madonna
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