Belfast Telegraph

Now Madonna gets the Wallis treatment

By Gail Walker

Predictably the sneer fest surrounding Madonna's new movie W.E, about the life of Wallis Simpson, is already well under way in the British media.

Much of the sniping is totally unrelated to the artistic merit of the picture, with Madonna's appearance the main line of attack. How dare she look so young at 53!

But she's also been savaged for saying that she "identifies" with Simpson because when she first moved to England she, too, was an "outsider".

Actually, Madonna was being very generous on that one. Despite marrying an Englishman and living in England for years, she was never accepted there.

A couple of things will make W.E compelling. The first is that Madonna is directing it. Having spent her career having her celluloid performances savaged - with the exception of her debut in Desperately Seeking Susan - it looks like her first big outing behind the camera is a bit of a cracker.

That'll be one in the eye for her ex-husband, Guy Ritchie.

The second reason is the character of Wallis Simpson. Divorcee and king-stealer, she has stalked the British pysche for 80 years, a cross between Cruella de Ville and the Wicked Queen in Snow White.

Doubtless Madonna will have found something in the Simpson story with which to skewer the self-regarding pretentions of the British elite.

Indeed, such is the fresh venom in her direction from the Guardian and, particularly, female columnists, that she's evidently scored a bullseye there.

What's changed since Wallis Simpson herself, of course, is that the balance of power has shifted big-time.

Madonna as the American blow-in remains a global superpower while the tiny Bloomsbury set that she patronised with Burberry scarves and cycling through the park appear more insignificant and remote than ever, even from the rest of Britain.

Rest assured, masterpiece or flop, the British public will flock to the picture.

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