Saturday, May 17, 2014


W.E. is a 2011 romance film written and directed by Madonna. The film splits between the romance of Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom in the 1930s and the story of a woman's struggle between her husband and a new romance set in the present day.

Abbie Cornish as Wally Winthrop 
Oscar Isaac as Evgeni
Andrea Riseborough as Wallis Simpson
James D'Arcy as Edward VIII

In 2001, Wally Winthrop is so desperate to have a child that she begins treatment for In Vitro Fertilization. Her doctor husband, William Winthrop, neglects her and she suspects him of having an affair. William later admits that he does not want a child. Wally travels to the Sotheby's auction of the Windsor's estate, show casing various items belonging to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. 

In the 1930s, through her friend, Lady Furness, who is always the Prince's mistress, Mrs. Simpson meets the Prince of Wales, Edward, but known to his close friends as "David." They two are mutually attracted to one another and begin an affair while Lady Furness is away in America despite Wallis being married to Ernest Simpson at the time. Edward's family is critical of his relationship but he is so besotted with this American woman that he decides he wants to marry her with or without his throne.

Wally's reminiscent are interrupted by a Russian security guard named Evgeni, who begins to fancy her. He woos her with his piano and the two go out on a date. They talk about Wallis and Edward which causes Wally to ponder about her strained relationship with her husband. One night, Wally confronts her husband over his late night dealings leading to William violent assaulting his wife.

Wallis attempts to break up her relationship with the King of the United Kingdom but Edward cannot let her go. On December 11, 1936, Edward abdicates the throne, leaving it to his younger brother, Bertie, now King George VI.  Edward becomes the Duke of Windsor and they marry.  Edward becomes despondent

Wally makes her way to Evgeni's apartment after the fight where she recovers and the two consummate their relationship. She decides to divorce William and return to her work at the museum. One day, the newspaper publishes an article on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, saying that Mohammed Al-Fayed has private letters exchanged between Wallis and a friend. They reveal that Wallis feels trapped in her relationship with Edward, breaking the spell of the romantic story. Wally puts aside the story of Wallis and Edward to move on with her own. The film ends with Wally discovering that she is pregnant with Evgeni's baby.

I give this movie a 0.5/5. Why? I'm a big fan of Natalie Dormer and a few years ago, when I saw that she was in a new movie, I was excited. Even better that it was about the British monarchy. I'll admit that I'm not the biggest fan of Wallis Simpson but subject is a little interesting. I don't think anyone could have avoided the negative reviews surrounding the movie so I did know about it but still Natalie Dormer is awesome. It took me two years to actually watch the damn thing but now that I have I just want to say: Why? Just why? 

Think of everything that could be interesting about the story of Wallis and Edward and throw it out the window because this movie doesn't have it. The split story line doesn't work and the editing is atrocious. I kept wondering "WHERE AM I?" throughout the entire film. The present story line was absolutely terrible in my opinion. Wally just walks around touching things and the entire time I kept thinking to myself, "Security! Tackle her already!" The Evgeni character was incredibly funny: He's a hunky security with a sexy foreign accent who plays piano and is highly cultured. There was a scene in the movie where Oscar Isaac was in a kilt (Don't ask) and he gave a flash of his ass and I shuddered inside. We presently have a queen on the throne, Mr. McDreamy, you need to wear something under that. The fight scene between Wally and William was so badly done that I couldn't help but burst into hysterical laughter. Whenever we were in the present story line, I wanted to go back to the W.E. timeline and whenever I was in the W.E. timeline, I just wanted to leave the room. 

The film is not in the least bit historically inaccurate. If it wants to be a revisionist piece, it did a terrible job at it. The news anchor called Edward VIII "David Windsor" and I couldn't help but think that Madonna came off a bit pretentious in her writing. I really disliked how they portrayed Bertie as a simpering fool. Yes, he did have the stutter but he was the man who's strength of will lead Great Britain through the Second World War. There was this really awkward dance-drug scene in the moving that made me very confused. Often times in the movie you will think to yourself, "WHAT IS THE POINT OF THIS SCENE?!" Whoever did the soundtrack for this movie, I don't know if you took a drink of that drug-alcohol concoction but I have no idea what you were doing. It didn't fit in the movie at all. 

Now given all my complaints, why does this movie deserve 0.5 a mark? The answer is simple: Andrea Riseborough. She was very good as Wallis Simpson. She captured Wallis's Bohemian feel very well and I thought she looked the part. The costumes were nice and the settings weren't bad. All in all though, even with Riseborough's talent, I'm still left wondering, "WHY?"

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