….’Speaking of the one-time couple, a friend of mine gave me a copy of Ritchie’s 2002 movie “Swept Away,” starring Madonna, as ” a joke.” This re-make of Lina Wertmuller’s 1974 movie about a privileged woman shipwrecked with her now-empowered deckhand, was a terrible flop. (I don’t know that Lina’s original was screaming for a remake, actually.) I saw the Ritchie/Madonna version when it opened. I thought it wasn’t nearly as bad as critics said, although it wasn’t good. It seemed to me like a Lifetime Movie for TV, with Madonna, as usual, stiff one moment, charming the next. (She is best in supporting roles. For some reason, the burden of carrying a film seems to overwhelm her. Maybe if her music career hadn’t been so successful, she would have devoted more time to acting — most of her best performances are in her classic music videos, using her expressive face.)

Ritchie photographed her horribly in “Swept Away,” and I had to wonder, what he was really trying to say with this tale of a wealthy and famous woman brought low? He had previously directed her in a short, about a spoiled star being abused, and also one of her music videos, “What It Feels Like for a Girl,” in which she — again — plays an abused woman.

It reminded me — rather sadly — of Richard Burton directing Elizabeth in “Dr. Faustus.” Elizabeth never realized what Burton was conveying in the final scene, as Taylor drags him — as Faustus — down to hell. By then, he was tired of that roller-coaster Life With Liz, but it was too late, and too profitable, to jump off.

Madonna and Guy were a good match for a while, and I know she was deeply in love with him. In any case, “Swept Away” is a fascinating, if not a brilliant, peek into public people working out personal issues through their work. That’s how I see it, at least.

P.S. Today, in Montreal, Madonna kicks off her “Rebel Heart” tour. Those who have seen the show in rehearsal say it is her greatest yet, simply magnificent. But don’t tell her that. She is never satisfied. Once she is done with an album, a movie, a concert tour, a man she’s done. But while she’s working on something, she is constantly tinkering, re-doing, re-playing, re-thinking. And when it’s over, it’s over. No complaining or explaining. The present and the future exist for Madonna. The past holds no interest. Nostalgia is just a nine-letter word.

Good luck, tonight, honey!

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