I have just seen Madonna’s new film on Wallis Simpson and her lover, the King who abdicated. Strangely, without knowing about this essay of Madonna’s, I researched the British Royals and watched another film on the couple last year. I also saw the King’s Speech again and Bertie and Elizabeth, meaning I’ve seen four films on the subject. I still like the 2005 TV film Wallis and Edward, by British writer Sarah Williams the best. Interestingly her and Madonna’s portrait often concur which suggests shared sources but also corroboration. Bringing a more recent woman in for us to relate and compare with gives a new angle, but not an entirely necessary one, as I didn’t relate to Abbie Cornish’s character, although I totally understand how a historical figure can mean much and be someone real and significant in one’s life. What lacked in the new film is that the royal romance is not fully established. The fulcrum of the tale is a love so powerful that the King would give up throne and country, and almost family, to be with her – and as Madonna makes clear – for which Wallis made her own sacrifices. But I didn’t get a sense of the importance of that love, especially in its beginnings, or from the film – not sufficiently that I believed in all the effects of the affair.
You can read my earlier article here