May contain spoilers!
Mills and Boon meets the house of Windsor.
What to there to say about this. Firstly it is a shame because in many ways, Madonna’s direction is actually pretty damn good. She certainly holds her own against many other directors, certainly when it comes to style but this film is the epitome of style over substance, with what plot there is being some of the most ludicrous and cringe-worthy imaginable. it manages to sink the entire project.
Abbey Cornish plays a lunatic stalker type who is, as were her mother and grandmother, obsessed with the late Wallis Simpson (Windsor), the American divorcee whose infamous affair with King Edward in the 1930’s led to his abdication from the throne of England.
But whilst on hand, we are treated to a stylised version of those events in the 1930’s, with the focus being quite rightly on the fact that she too, sacrificed everything for her part in that relationship, this is dominated by a fictional wrap around story focusing on the unhinged Cornish.
She is a character lifted from a 1980’s music video or a perfume commercial as she wonders through the film, frighteningly obsessed with Simpson, stalking her through her possessions which are up for sale in Paris auction house. As Cornish is battling the clichés of her abusive, philandering doctor husband, paralleling aspects of Wallis’s life, she falls in love with Oscar Isaac’s smouldering security guard, though be it a master pianist, immigrant with the trendiest, grungiest flat in the world.
She also spends the film talking to an imaginary version of Simpson as she helps Cornish through her problems, but really, she needs some serious psychological help. It is difficult to accept her as a heroin, when she is clearly bonkers!
But it is fair to say that Andrea Riseborough is great in the role of Wallis and in a film of wooden acting, she is a breath of fresh air and the best thing in it.