For one of the first times ever, I was not extremely excited or wetting my pants over a new Madonna project. In fact, even after its premiere and the bootleg version showed up online, I was still underwhelmed. But like all Madonna projects, this one was more complex than originally assumed, more moving, more outrageous, and more intense. As a lifelong Madonna fan, it’s expected that I defend her, that I love every move she makes – but that’s never been the case. I will criticize her when warranted (I will never like those grillz!) but I’ll also give her a chance, which much of the world doesn’t seem capable of doing. While her new project, a 17-minute film she made with Steven Klein in the name of freedom of artistic expression, is putting her in the spotlight again, I still wasn’t completely impressed – though I was intrigued, and on repeat viewings it stands up much better than expected.
The best thing about Madonna is that she makes it all about herself while still being relatable to millions. We want our stars to be relatable, but we also want them to be stars – and no one does that tricky pose better than Madonna. The above clip is an addendum to her project, but I find it more powerful and impressive than the actual project itself – always a telling sign of the sheer star power that is Madonna. Oh, and check her out with first husband Sean Penn – almost three decades after they met. Yup, even he showed up at her premiere. That’s how it goes.