Review by James Lindorf
Guy Guido’s first directorial effort was the short film Physical Attraction about a teenager who has his life flipped upside down after an encounter with Madonna. The movie was about Madonna, it was named after a song from her first album, so it is no shock that for his first feature-length project that he again focused on the pop icon. Guido presents Madonna and The Breakfast Club in a blend of interviews, archive footage and dramatizations to tell the story of Madonna’s pre-fame years in New York City with her musician boyfriend, Dan Gilroy, and their first band. Madonna and The Breakfast Club will be available digitally and through VOD on March 12th, 2019.
Casting directors Liz Lewis and Angela Mickey did a great job finding Jamie Auld, who not only looked like Madonna, but was capable of embodying her personality. The majority of the dramatizations are presented with voice over, so Auld and Calvin Knie, who played Dan, only had their physical actions to tell the story. The pair were very successful, displaying believable chemistry that made the dramatizations the best portion of the film.
Conversely, the worst part of the film is any portion that involves a recorded conversation between Madonna and Dan. It is unclear if they were intoxicated, just trying to be silly or if it was what they found romantic. Whatever may have been going on between the couple is easier to understand than why Guido decided to dedicate so much of the 105-minute runtime to these tapes. If they were all packaged together at the start of the film, no one would ever make it past the 10-minute mark.
Madonna is painted as a passionate figure whose drive should be admired but not necessarily used as a road map to fame. Her former bandmates admit personal faults, but are portrayed in a brighter light than her. This portrayal could be factual to how events happened 40 years ago, or could be a result of the fact that without them, there would be no film. They provide 90% of the interview material and the majority of the archival footage and music. While some will be inclined to believe they were not giving Madonna a fair shake, they all come off as genuine people who don’t hold a grudge against their former bandmate.
Even without Madonna herself, or the rights to any of her major hits, Guido managed to put together an interesting and thoroughly entertaining documentary. The dramatizations add a lot of flair to the ordinarily stale documentary platform of one interview after interview.