This semi-fictionalized account of Madonna’s years as a struggling artist in New York City before hitting it big in the early 1980s feels like a gift to longtime fans. There’s a veritable treasure trove of demos, photos and other rare sundries featured throughout the movie, as brothers Dan and Ed Gilroy (who founded The Breakfast Club along with Madonna in the late 1970s) share their memories of living with her in an abandoned synagogue when they were all starving artists. Interspersed with their talking head interviews are fictionalized accounts of various events in those early years that feature Jamie Auld as Madonna, and the resemblance is so striking it’s downright eerie: I sometimes forgot I was watching an actress play Madonna, that’s how dead-on Auld’s casting and performance are. Ultimately it tells a tale of tenacious, indefatigable ambition that’s been fulfilled (and then some), and it’s also probably the most detailed account of her early years yet.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)