Madonna‘s fairly tale incarnated via the life of Wallis Simpson(Andrea Riseborough) and Prince of Wales, abdicated King Edward VIII (James D’Arcy), in haute mode. Watching this was like flipping through a Vogue, Architectural Digest, a Cartier catalogue,… just as often, no one pays attention to the articles however well-written they are within those glossy pages. In this case, the article was stale and cliché that told the same spiel of a trophy wife’s declining marriage to a rich doctor, who paid no attention to a masterpiece he already owned. Wally Montague (Abbie Cornish)believed she needed to be put on a pedestal and worshipped by a Russian security God, Evgeni(Oscar Isaac), and baby was a must. Tripe!
Toward the end, Wally meets with Mohammed Al-Faye(Haluk Bilginer) for his permission to read Wallis’s letters from her Aunt describing her true feelings about the Prince, so that she can write a book about the affair between Wallis Simpson and Prince Edward from her perspective. That will serve as a catalyst for her to understand about herself and the sacrifice a woman has to make for her beloved man, blah, blah, blah. After her trip to Paris, she finds true love. So she assumes.
I hate to make comparisons; the style of this film attempted at the movie classic of torn lovers like Wong Kar Wai ‘s In the Mood for Love: the soft silhouetted camera transitions that convey the emotions of the characters, with the background music complimenting their effects. One that puts you in a trance. Unfortunately, the present time love story just was not visceral enough to draw me to have any deep feelings for the two (maybe cute), or just Wally, herself. In other words, that effect was never achieved.
Besides, it is very hard to be sentimental and feel sorry for someone who quitted her job to appease her husband’s controlling desire, and go to Sotheby’s everyday to browse the Duke and Duchess of Windsor collections. Poor girl. Squish, squish!
SKIP…unless you like to play “pretend” too!