29 January 2012

Film Premiere with the Queen of Pop

So, I was lucky enough to be invited to a screening of the Madonna-directed W/E at the Ziegfeld Theater in midtown Manhattan last Monday.   Needless to say, the prospect of attending an official red carpet, NYC film premiere was a BIG deal to me.  Add to that the prospect of being in the same room as the Queen of Pop herself, and I was a ball of excited nerves!  My best friend Jesus and I  brushed elbows with some amazingly talented people that evening: Ewan McGregor, Julia Stiles, Lady Bunny and more were in attendance.  When Madonna was introduced, and came to the front of the theater to speak, I was excited beyond comprehension.  Not that it was my first time at an event with her, but any chance to see M is exciting for me.   The Marchesa gown she was wearing was flawless, and her speech was both heartfelt and personal.  Madonna discussed her inspiration to make this film, and even paused to thank her long deceased mother in a tearful moment.  After the 14 minute speech and introduction from M, the film rolled.

If I had gone in with low expectations for Madonna's directorial debut, I would have been selling her short.   Madonna and her supremely talented cast not only delivered, they exceeded expectations at every turn.  Humanizing one of the best known historical romances of all time in and of itself would have been a challenge; intermingling it with a contemporary one turned the film into a director's nightmare which by all rights should have been a disaster.  Instead, Madonna and company presented us with a masterpiece.  The two stories wove seamlessly into each other, and the inspiration Wally took from Wallis as she learned more and more about the truth about her life was generously shared with the audience.  Also not lost was the message that love comes with a price.  In the case of Wallis Simpson, the loss of her privacy, her popularity, and the ability for her to ever return to England (she and Edward VIII were never again allowed in the country after the abdication, save when she attended his funeral.)  In the case of Wally, it was the materially comfortable life she had shared with her very well off socialite husband.  The story in the film is not lost on us, and the fresh perspective with which it looks at a well known historical romance is both refreshing, and, at times, shocking. We often forget Wallis Simpson and Henry VIII were simply 2 people in love, and that love can make us do unexpected things.  We tend to focus on what he gave up to be with her, and forget the price she paid to live this fairy tale.  This film gives us the contrary viewpoint, and does so in a vivid and touching way.

As the film ended, I looked around me to see the likes of Gayle King and Martha Stewart on their feet applauding this film, which just confirmed what I already knew: Madonna had done something special with this film.  I highly suggest you go see what I mean.

Sometimes, in order to get where we are headed, we have to pause where we are and take an inventory.   Sometimes that inventory will reaffirm what we thought we knew about our journey through life.  More often, however, it will show us a need for a slight course correction and a new destination.   

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