Everyone seems shocked that Madonna is turning 50 this year. Fifty! And she looks so good! Well, duh. She's a bazillionaire. Recording and touring are gruelling affairs, but it's not like she's been carrying 50-pound sacks of rice on her back in the blazing hot sun all of her life. During an interview last night, Cynthia McFadden even compared her to geezer rockers Mick Jagger and David Bowie. (She meant it in a good way, but still. Cynthia.) But it seems the focus is -- for the moment -- turning away from the relentless march of time and toward Madonna's Malawi documentary, I Am Because We Are.
The film was met with "general acclaim" when the singer-turned-documentarist presented it recently at the Festival de Cannes, according to The Guardian. No specifics are given as to what exactly this means or who's been generally handing out the acclaim. One early review after the Tribeca Film Festival praises Madonna's goals, but calls the documentary itself "much too facile" and refers to her narration as "clipped," "insincere," and "self-serving" when she compares the plight of the Malawi people to her own experiences with suffering. Another review criticizes her narrative for being "delivered with so little enthusiasm, or at least engagement" and calls the script (written by Madonna herself) "rife with banalities." Perhaps the audiences in Cannes were more receptive, as those sound pretty much like the opposite of "acclaim" to me.
Madonna is no stranger to criticism, of course. Before the release of 1993's Body of Evidence, novelist Patricia Cornwell had the prescience to make sure the movie bore a disclaimer stating that it was not based on her book of the same title, and you could just about line the Bronx Zoo's bird houses with all the bad reviews for Swept Away. Compared to that, the negative critique for her documentary seems no more dramatic than turning another year older.
For more Cannes Film Festival news, check out The Art of the Cannes!