Scott Marks 4:30 p.m., Dec. 5
Madonna’s gilded, google-eyed take on how American divorcée Wallis Simpson became the Duchess of Windsor after her “great love” for Britain’s Edward VIII led to his 1937 abdication. E. (James D’Arcy) is all heart and no brain, while W. (very sharp Andrea Riseborough) is a chic, catty grabber. Taffy-headed director/writer Madonna pretends that Wallis didn’t really want the scandal and marriage. In an idiotic parallel story, a Wallis-addicted modern W. (Abbie Cornish) falls for her own E., a Russian émigré security guard (hunk Oscar Isaac) at the Windsor estate auction. This gooey, glossy film is like flipping through breathless issues of Vanity Fair and barely winks at the royal couple’s delight in Hitler. If only Jacqueline Susann could have scripted!
— David Elliott