The affair between King Edward VIII and American divorcée Wallis Simpson, and a contemporary romance between a married woman and a Russian security guard.The affair between King Edward VIII and American divorcée Wallis Simpson, and a contemporary romance between a married woman and a Russian security guard.The affair between King Edward VIII and American divorcée Wallis Simpson, and a contemporary romance between a married woman and a Russian security guard.
Don't even think about who directed this. Think of it as a multi-layered, multi-era epic centering on the marriage of King Edward and his American love, Wallis Simpson. He's the English king who abdicated for love. But this is the story of the love, Wallis, the woman who gave up as much as the king did, or so the thrust of the movie suggests.
It's rather good! It mixes a bit of fantasizing with a contemporary woman, Wally, finding her obsession with the Wallis of history (1930s) is more than coincidence. The narrative flips between several parts of the royal story before WWII and the contemporary version, which includes a budding relationship with a guard at an exhibition of Wallis Simpson memorabilia.
Whether you find either story convincing doesn't matter. One of them is of course based on history, and is interesting if you don't already know the facts. The other is an echo of the same, with the woman having to become strong and independent just as her earlier namesake did.
What is most interesting is the way the two stories are inter-spliced, including some scenes where the two times zones are mixed (apparently in Wally's head, but it's very real to the audience). We start to see how often and completely women are stuck in situations they would not choose if they knew ahead of time. It's about independence, yes, but also failure to be independent and the consequences. And maybe it's about learning a little from history.
The director? Madonna. Yes, the singer from Michigan. The director of the terrible bomb "Filth and Wisdom." Here there is some real cinematic intelligence. It's a good movie. Flawed, a bit longer than it needs to be, a bit forced in the layering of stories, but well acted and conceived.
- Oct 29, 2012