Tuesday, January 24, 2012

January 24, 2012
By: Janet Lawler
New York

I went to the movies with Madonna last night.

Okay, let me clarify... I didn't exactly share popcorn out of the same bucket with the singer... but I definitely was in popcorn-throwing range of the pop icon while watching the premiere of her new movie W.E. at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Monday night.
Madonna about to enter premiere Photo: Carolina Correa
How was the experience?  AWESOME! Not so much the movie... but watching Madonna watch her own movie... priceless.
Madonna at the Ziegfeld
Madonna directed and co-wrote the film.  She wowed the audience wearing a drop-dead gorgeous black velvet Marchesa gown. All eyes were on her like lasers.
Her movie is about Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII.   King Edward had an affair with Mrs. Simpson and caused a major scandal back in the day. Rather than end the romance with the then-married woman, King Edward abdicated his power. After Mrs. Simpson's divorce became final, Wallis and Edward (thus, the title W.E.) married and became known as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

W.E. is beautifully shot (in New York, Paris, London, and Queens!) -- telling two stories -- one set in 1998 in Manhattan about a woman stuck in an unhappy, abusive marriage who becomes fascinated with the auction at Sotheby's focusing on the Duke and Duchess; and the second story focusing on the historic events in the 1930s and 40s. The two stories intertwine nicely for awhile, but unfortunately, not effectively overall. I could have done without two stories. Simpson's story is fascinating enough to watch, as is the actress who portrays her Andrea Riseborough.

The director asks -- why do we only think King Edward sacrificed everything for love? What did Wallis Simpson have to give up? What was her life like after Edward left the throne to be with her? Was it a fairy tale romance? Not exactly. Go see the movie to see why.

W.E. just picked up an Oscar nomination for costume design. Madonna will need a new gown to wear to the Academy Awards next month.

Before watching the movie last night, Madonna walked to the front of the audience, picked up a microphone and spoke about making the film against all odds. I liked when she said her passion in all her work is story telling. It doesn't matter if it's a music video she makes... a new song she writes... a film she directs... story remains key to her. It's what connects us all...

We all have a story.

The writer/director thanked her mother. As most know, her Mom died when Madonna was a child. Madonna whispered into the microphone, "W.E. is the journey of the female soul... and my mother gave me life... and, enjoy the film!"

Madonna took her seat with the rest of us as the lights went down... and her movie hit the big screen in New York City -- the city she most loves.

Lights up... movie over... but Madonna's story continues.  Next month it's the Oscars to attend... but first, her flashy gowns come off and she performs live at the Super Bowl on February 5th.

Um, move over, Lady Gaga... this pop icon is far from retired yet.

Here is a link to Madonna's speech last night http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjWfrfVbInU.
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Until next time.