W.E. (15/R, 119 mins)
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
More than with most movies, nearly all the attention focussed on W.E. will rightly or wrongly be towards its celebrity director, with Madonna making what is actually her second film after the little seen Filth and Wisdom. Telling parallel love stories, it’s a sombre and brittle romantic drama that centres on Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough) and her affair with the future King Edward VIII. Meanwhile in 1990s New York, a young woman (Abbie Cornish) has her own marriage woes, and fascinated by the life of Wallis, looks to her for inspiration. Though competent enough, W.E. never sits still for a minute, full of editorial tics to distract from its lack of emotional core. The Wallis stuff pings about all over the place, from 1920s Shanghai to 40s France, before settling in England in the 30s, but the abdication crisis is hardly ground that needs covered and the modern story quickly becomes a tedious distraction.