6.3/10
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79 user 123 critic

W.E. (2011)

Trailer
2:30 | Trailer
The affair between King Edward VIII and American divorcée Wallis Simpson, and a contemporary romance between a married woman and a Russian security guard.

Director:

Madonna
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Abbie Cornish ... Wally Winthrop
Andrea Riseborough ... Wallis Simpson
James D'Arcy ... Edward
Oscar Isaac ... Evgeni
Richard Coyle ... William Winthrop
David Harbour ... Ernest
James Fox ... King George V
Judy Parfitt ... Queen Mary
Haluk Bilginer ... Mohamed Al-Fayed
Geoffrey Palmer ... Stanley Baldwin
Natalie Dormer ... Elizabeth
Laurence Fox ... Bertie
Douglas Reith ... Lord Brownlow
Katie McGrath ... Lady Thelma
Christina Chong ... Tenten
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Storyline

In 1998, an auction of the estate of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor causes great excitement. For one woman, Wally Winthrop, it has much more meaning. Wally becomes obsessed by their historic love story. As she learns more about the sacrifices involved, Wally gains her own courage to find happiness. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some domestic violence, nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an interview for the Daily Mail published in February 2019 Judy Parfitt stated that she was not overawed by Madonna: "She knew I didn't give a monkey's, and at one point when I needed to smoke- I was playing Queen Mary who was a secret smoker- she had to get down on her knees to pass a cigarette to me. "That's just where I like to see you Madonna" I said "On your knees". Everybody else was kowtowing to her but I thought, "Yes, you're an OK singer and an OK dancer, but you are a dreadful actress and director" ". See more »

Goofs

In the newsreel scene from 1936 showing the funeral procession of Edward's father the King, the voiceover announcer says that "King George the Third has died and the nation mourns". It should of course have been King George the Fifth. See more »

Quotes

Wallis Simpson: Darling, they can't hurt you if you don't let them.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Breakfast: Episode dated 3 September 2011 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

The Twist
Written by Hank Ballard (as Henry Ballard)
Performed by Chubby Checker
© 1958 Used by kind permission of Carlin Music Corp Master courtesy of ABKCO Records
See more »

User Reviews

 
Almost, yet not quite.
28 January 2012 | by mad_mandonnaSee all my reviews

W.E. is one of three biopics I have seen this year, after The Iron Lady and J Edgar. Of the three I think W.E. is probably the best, but all three tread the path of the mediocre. What W.E. gets right is Wallis Simpson, Riseborough is fantastic in the lead role and has great chemistry with James D'Arcy. The biggest problem with the film is the the second tier of the romance with Abbie Cornish's Wally Winthrop, though the romance picks up momentum around the one hour mark, it slows down the pace of the Wallis Simpson segments.

The script has high and low notes, the romance at times is reduced sappiness, but these are forgivable even when they are at there worst. What is probably the biggest weakness in W.E. is the often used close up hand held camera shots. The occasional one works nicely, but these shots are put in far too often and take you out of the story. In most cases the camera work could have been more simplistic, it too often feels erratic which isn't good in the more tender moments of the film.

The music in W.E. is beautiful and the addition of "Masterpiece" in the credits is a lovely song to go side by side with the film. However sometimes the music is a little over powering, once again just a case of less is more. The much discussed and derided scene with Wallis dancing the Charleston with a tribesman to The Sex Pistols "pretty Vacant", I really liked. I felt the scene was a fun and good way to show how frivolous the character could be, using the modern day Wally's imagination to keep the scene from feeling alien.

Undoubtedly the best part of W.E. is the costume and lighting. The attention to detail in this department is incredible. Every costume looks stunning and is meticulously put together down to the nearest diamond, and the lighting makes the landscapes almost feel like paintings it really is stunning.

All in all W.E. is a great attempt from Madonna to craft a stunning looking film, though the storytelling can be muddled and the film takes around 40 minutes to really get going, its once again forgivable. Historical inaccuracies put aside would have made this film a 7, but not exploring the Nazi element could have made this so much more interesting. The negative reviews of this film aren't looking at it from fair perspective and anyone with half a brain can see though not amazing, W.E. is at least half decent and for a directors second film pretty damn good.


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French | Russian

Release Date:

20 January 2012 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

W.E. See more »

Filming Locations:

France See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$47,074, 5 February 2012

Gross USA:

$583,455

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,042,203
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Semtex Films, IM Global See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Datasat | Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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