W.E. tells the story of two fragile but determined women - Wally Winthrop and Wallis Simpson - separated by more than six decades. In 1998, lonely New Yorker Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) is obsessed with what she perceives as the ultimate love story: King Edward's VIII's abdication of the British throne for the woman he loved, American divorcée Wallis Simpson. But Wally's research, including several visits to the Sotheby's auction of the Windsor Estate, reveals that the couple's life together was not as perfect as she thought. Weaving back and forth in time, W.E. intertwines Wally's journey of discovery in New York with the story of Wallis (Andrea Riseborough) and Edward (James D'Arcy), from the glamorous early days of their romance to the slow unraveling of their lives in the decades that followed. -- (C) Weinstein … More
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Critic Reviews for W.E.
It's hard to hate a movie that escorts us to such lovely locales, but instead of marking the territory as her own, Madonna has directed a potentially provocative story like a virgin.
With "W.E." Madonna gorges on glamour, architectural porn and haute couture but starves the mind.
The film is stylishly shot. And, in weaving the stories of Wally and Wallis, Madonna trusts viewers to move from mood to mood, era to era without overexplanation, the way music-video editing long ago trained us to.
The production is nice looking, and telling the Edward-and-Wallis story from her side is an interesting idea, but it's one that Madonna simply can't pull off here.
A movie that's less about people than the fetishistic obsession with style.
Having gone to painstaking lengths to ensure this film assigns [Madonna] oh-so-serious directorial cred that she has sadly forsaken the very energy that makes her a megastar to this very day.
It may not be laughably awful - like her and Ritchie's Swept Away - it's something far worse...boring.
Is this the end of Madonna as a movie maker, a case of her always ambitious reach exceeding her limited grasp?
W.E. is staggeringly misjudged, infuriatingly revisionist, blindingly stupid and stomach evacuatingly terrible.
Kudos to Madonna for ultimately producing a celluloid smorgasbord that contains the caloric content of a couple of Snackwell's cookies.
Impossible to recommend to anyone not already fascinated with the British royal family, or at least jonesing for a companion piece to The King's Speech.
Truth be told, the film isn't THAT bad, and if it had been directed by an unknown rather than a controversial media icon, it might have been more charitably dismissed as an ambitious failure.
not a completely horrible film ...there's one sequence - an anachronistic and jarring one in which Wallis Simpson ... dances with a Masai tribesman to the Sex Pistols' "Pretty Vacant" - that I think indicates that Madge has real potential as a director.
An ambitiously conceived and beautifully designed and costumed but disjointed work; each scene is impressive on its own, but the movie -- like its heroines? -- lacks a coherent identity.
Madonna doesn't appear in W.E. but her artistic sensibilities are on display at every turn.
Tonally and emotionally all over the map, Madonna wants to celebrate Wallis' and Edward's martini-shaking high living while also wallowing in her hidden pain.
Enough already with the famous-equals-feminist school of female icons - it's not enough to simply dress well.
The coda plays like one long and petulant foot stomp about sacrifice and due recognition of said sacrifice, and in that, too, it's impossible not to tease the thread back to its maker, striking a pose as misunderstood icon.
We can't take overly seriously the woes of folks whose silverware costs more than most people's homes, at least not as presented here, with their wealth depicted as a kind of moral state.
Audience Reviews for W.E.
Stylish to the point of being strange. The film seemed lifeless and lacking any significant point or emotion. This film would have made more sense as a photo shoot. "W.E." should be renamed "W.T.F.?"More
Not sure what I think of this one. First the pluses.
The movie certainly looks stylish. It's filmed beautifully and I love the outfits and make up used for the "period" parts. Abbie Cornish is great, as is the actress who plays the first Wally. If directing a movie is just about getting things to "look" right and choosing a good cast, then Madonna has done a great job. I did think the "pretty vacant" scene was similar to one in "Marie Antoinette", though.
Now the not so good, the story was a bit hard to follow. I didn't understand Abbie's fascination with the first Wally aside from she was named after her. I also thought it floundered in the parts she "saw" and spoke to the original Wally.
I didn't really understand the relationships with Wally and her husband and the King, and the beating scene, that was kind of out of nowhere. To be honest, the guys in this are pretty wooden and I couldn't really tell one from the other. Not entirely sure which one beat the first Wally and where the miscarriage came into it.
The more modern story was easier to follow.
Wally was pretty much married to a jerk, although I can see where her baby obsession must have been pretty annoying. I couldn't understand why she would even want to be with him considering, let alone have children with him. The security guard guy was a bit creepy too. The bit where he says she reminds him of his dead wife. Um. Great.
Overall, a movie that looks great and keeps you watching, but a bit low on believability.
This film juxtaposes the romance between Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII with a neglected woman in the twentieth century who entertains an obsession with the story.
This is one of the worst films I've seen in a long time. Madonna is a horrid director. There is absolutely no restraint, subtlety, or character development. It's just bad, bad, bad.
But let's try to take the film on its own terms. The thesis is that history remembers Edward's abdication of the throne and lauds or judges him based on what he gave up for Wallis Simpson. But, the film wonders, what about what she gave up for him? Well, what did she give up? This film doesn't answer its own question. Some may judge Simpson as a home-wrecker, but the most accurate reading of history judges British royal mores, not the actors. And because Madonna has no feeling for British customs, we don't get to see these social pressures in action.
And I still have no idea how the modern day plot informs the British plot.
Overall, anyone with any taste should see any other film, maybe The King's Speech, which overlaps W.E..
I thought that this movie was beautifully done. I have read some not so kind reviews, but I decided to watch it anyway do to the subject matter. I was very pleasantly surprised by how well this movie was done. Good casting, great cinematography, good pacing, nice score, and I like the honest portrayal of the two main characters. This was actually one of the best movies I've seen in awhile.More
- Wallis Simpson:
- You have no idea how hard it is to live out the greatest love romance of the century. And now I will have to be with him always and always and always.
- Wallis Simpson:
- Attractive is just a polite way of saying you've done the best with what you've got. All I could hope to do was dress the best and if everyone turned to look at me when I walked into the room, well, I knew my husband would be happy.
- Wallis Simpson:
- Darling, they can't hurt you unless you let them.
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