Madonna and the curious business of biopics

Reading that Madonna has decided to cancel the film about her life that she has been working on for the past two years, I felt a pang of sorrow. The biopic sounded like the biggest vanity project ever attempted – and thus promised to be an excellent ‘mock-watch’, as I’ve named the cinematic equivalent of the ‘hate-read’. In the specific case of biopics (always an easy thing to get wrong when one person imitates another, often with hilarious results), perhaps ‘sham-shaming’ is even better. Madonna was reported to be directing, producing and co-writing the film with the Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody, who has since moved on to the live-action Powerpuff

Ravishing, daring biopic of Emily Brontë: Emily reviewed

The life of Emily Brontë is an enduring object of fascination. So small, the life, so sparse, so limited. Yet it delivered those magnificent poems and Wuthering Heights. How could this be? Genius, I suppose, paired with a vivid interior life. But as neither of those are cinematic, Emily imagines what could have led her to write as she did. It’s a ‘speculative biopic’, and modern, but there’s no Billie Eilish on the soundtrack or breaking of the fourth wall or jokey intertitles or any of those larks, which is a mighty relief. Instead, it’s daring, and ravishing. If you’d asked me if Emily might have ever tried opium, or