Critics pan new Madonna movie about abdication

Madonna's latest directing effort, W.E., was screened at the Venice Film Festival and attracted harsh reviews by the critics.
Madonna at the Venice Film Festival for her film W.E.
Madonna at the Venice Film Festival for her film W.E.

She is known as the queen of reinvention for good reason: actress, fashion icon, multimillion selling pop singer. Over a career of some longevity, Madonna has done it all.

Her latest endeavour has her returning to the role of film director, having made her directing debut in 2008 with Filth and Wisdom. W.E. screened at the Venice Film Festival last week and tells the story of Wallis Simpson, the American divorcee for whom King Edward VII abdicated the British throne in 1936.

Speaking on the red carpet before the premiere, Madonna thanked her film director ex-husbands Sean Penn and Guy Ritchie, saying that she had learnt a lot from them. Perhaps not quite enough, seems to be the consensus from critics, however.

Kate Muir, writing in The Times in London, opened her review in scathing form: "Madonna's first mainstream directorial debut, W.E., is screamingly, inadvertently funny in parts." In The Guardian, meanwhile, Xan Brooks is no less acerbic, describing the film as "a primped and simpering folly, the turkey that dreamed it was a peacock", before concluding: "What an extraordinarily silly, preening, fatally mishandled film this is."

It's not all bad though. The Daily Telegraph's David Gritten describes W.E. as "rather better than expected; it's bold, confident and not without amusing moments."

Published: September 5, 2011 04:00 AM