Alongside a whirl of parties, romance and intrigue in the ’30s and surrounding years, Madonna and co-writer Alek Keshishian give us the parallel tale of Wally (Abbie Cornish) and William (Richard Coyle), a wealthy couple in New York in the late 1990s, the time of an auction of Simpson’s affairs at Sotheby’s. Again, she’s American and he’s British, and William’s violence and philandering cause her to seek solace in dreams of Wallis and an attraction to a Rilke-reading security guard at the auction house.
Madonna gives Wallis near-supernatural powers of beauty, style, understanding and resilience. But Wallis makes for a woefully ill-conceived feminist heroine. All the gliding cameras, outré music choices and dissolves from past to present can’t disguise Madonna’s own distracting obsession with her subject, which means she never makes a satisfactory case for why Wallis should fascinate anyone else. Riseborough’s acting offers total commitment in the face of lunacy, but it’s a shame she’s flapping around in a film with such a terrible script and warped sense of purpose.
|Stars:||Abbie Cornish, Andrea Riseborough, James D'Arcy, Oscar Isaac, Richard Coyle, David Harbour, James Fox|