So much of Madonna's W.E. represents the best offerings of film artisans that the senses have trouble absorbing all that is projected at them. The gorgeous original score by Abel Korzeniowski brings to mind Yumeji's Theme from In the Mood for Love. The costume design is flawless, with Wallis (Andrea Riseborough) always dressed for company in haute couture gowns and Cartier jewels and Wally (Abbie Cornish) wearing a black and white Chanel-inspired wardrobe. And the sets that are their backdrops tell as much about the characters as the dialogue. Surrounded by opulence first in England and then France, Wallis' residences start to feel like gilded cages as she learns what it really means to be married to a royal who has committed the unforgivable sin of abdication. Similarly, Wally's Park Avenue apartment seems to mock her as it suggests a perfection that she cannot approach in her marriage. Everything is in its place and yet all is not as it should be. When Sotheby's security guard, Evgeni, rescues her from her abusive husband, she is finally able to breath again in his welcoming exposed-brick loft. Spaces tell stories, and sometimes we have to change the spaces we move in to live a different story.
Images: Semtex Films.