The Times on Saturday described Keira Knightley as 'the cinema equivalent of Marmite'. Whether you admire or admonish her acting skills, editors seemed united about one thing this week: the British starlet makes for a rather more glamorous front-page photo than the riot splashes and Libya pictures of August. Seemingly starved of upbeat, positive things to write about, the British press looked to Venice this week and its A-list-littered film festival. Not, of course, that every article filed from the red carpets was positive.
In that aforementioned Times review of Keira's new film, A Dangerous Method, Kate Muir described the star's performance as 'pitched at hysterical volume from the start' and, more damningly, noted that 'she fails to convince as an intellectual heavyweight'. Ouch! The Telegraph was only a mite kinder, calling her delivery 'gutsy'. (At least everyone seemed to like the Mary Katrantzou dress she wore for the film's photocall.)
Keira, however, wasn't them main draw of the event, good front covers notwithstanding. That accolade was reserved for Madonna, in Venice to premiere her much hyped love letter to Wallis Simpson, W.E. HuffPost blogger Emma Jones was at the screening and ensured those of us back in the office in London got the inside track minutes after it ended.
Of course, anywhere you've got a few high-profile women on the red carpet, there's the opportunity for plenty of 'who wore it best?', or these days, 'who wore it worse?' Add Kate Winslet to the equation and it's a wonder there was room in the papers for anything else this week.
Thankfully, Kate's curves didn't totally sidetrack opinion-makers from the real news affecting women's rights at the moment: Nadine Dorries and Frank Field's parliamentary amendment to the health and social care bill, requiring abortion providers to offer independent counselling to women seeking terminations.
From the government's U-Turn on its support for the proposition, to revelations about the director of the group, Right to Know, that backs the amendment, much has been written on this topic, and much more will be over the coming days no doubt. For now, I'll leave it to The Guardian's Suzanne Moore, published on Saturday, to have the final word...
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