Reviewed bymignonwolfVote: 9/10/10
I am not a fan of Madonna, her music and previous film stints do not doit for me.But I bear the greatest respect for her, she has gone whereangels fear to tread,she is a pioneer of women, and she makes me proudto be one. I do not understand why this movie got such bad reviews. Ifound it well directed, casted and filmed. It is wildly romantic andthoroughly worth your time. The costumes are stunning and the dialogueintriguing. Perhaps all the reviewers with negative comments were male?It has happened before, but this is no "chick flick". My husband reallyenjoyed it also. Well he is in touch with his feminine side, but likeMadonna he has balls the size of butternuts
Reviewed byDJRMewziqueVote: 8/10/10
"W.E." had one hell of an uphill battle. Not only is it a period piece,but the film is also written and directed by the one woman in the worldthat makes people pass judgement before even experiencing her work.That woman is Madonna.
The film tells the tale of the infamously scandalous affair of KingEdward VIII (aka David) and Wallis Simpson for whom, in the 1930s, hegave up everything for, even abdicating the throne of England. Being atwice-divorced American, Wallis Simpson was a woman the monarchy wouldnever accept, and because of that, David left everything behind forlove. The film concurrently takes us back to 1998 and Wally Winsthrop,a woman who was named after Ms. Simpson by her Wallis-obsessed motherand who also finds herself in a marriage that is not living up to themagic she expected it to be, a fact which is brought more to life bythe flirtations of a Russian security guard she encounters at anauction of the Windsor Estate at Sotheby's.
I can honestly say that, despite being an enormous fan of most ofMadonna's artistic endeavours, I was not sure how this film would playout. But you know what? It's a good film. First of all, it takes theperspective of Wallis Simpson in telling the first story, which goesagainst the norm. Secondly, the interweaving of the two completelydifferent time periods is extremely well done, incredibly edited, andmanages to keeps you invested in both stories equally. And mostsurprisingly, it was an entertaining history lesson: Not only do youlearn of this hugely publicized affair but the film, in a way, isalmost like a prequel to last year's powerhouse, "The King's Speech,"as that film focuses on Bertie, David's brother, who had to take overthe throne once David renounced it.
The film is not perfect, but as Madonna's second attempt at directing,you have to give her credit. Something many critics just refuse to do.No, the script is far from genius, but it's far from awful. The film isvisually beautiful to watch and the integration of regular filming anddocumentary-style graininess makes for an interesting watch. Then thereis the exquisite costumes for which this film is nominated for anAcademy Award...and has a good chance at winning. And the performances,all of which are good. Andrea Risborough ("Made in Dagenham," "Happy GoLucky") gives a strong turn, if not slightly off kilter at times, asWallis Simpson. James D'Arcy is at times whimsical yet stoic as theterribly handsome King Edward. Abbie Cornish ("Limitless") is close toheartbreaking as the suffering Wally Winthrop and Richard Coyle("Prince of Persia") gives a great performance as Wally's emotionallyabsent husband. And then there is Oscar Isaac, also in theOscar-nominated "Drive," as the incredibly handsome and sweet Russianwho perks up each time Wally is around.
No, "W.E." is not brilliant, but it's far better than you might expect,Madonna proving to be a far better director than anyone might give hercredit for. And if you just love her for her music, the Golden-Globewinning "Masterpiece" plays along the closing credits. Although I havealways preferred her musical endeavours over her cinematic attempts,this attempt is one she can definitely be proud of.
Reviewed bygradyharpVote: 7/10/10
The much maligned, brief theatrical film by Madonna - W.E. - fairsbetter on the small screen than it likely did in the movie houses. Thestories are bifurcated, each one resembling a television creation - onea docudrama biopic, the other a contemporary soap opera. That Madonna,who directed and wrote the screenplay with Alek Keshishian, decided tomix the two stories is a bit daring but in some ways it works verywell. In other ways the parallel stories seem like time traveling carson the same highway that never quite travel at the same speed orquality.
The film mixes the notorious affair between King Edward VIII andAmerican divorcée Wallis Simpson with a contemporary romance between amarried woman and a Russian security guard. The time is 1998 and at anauction of the estate of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor unhappilymarried ex-Sotheby employee Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) becomesobsessed by their historic love story. Her own marriage to womanizing,abusive psychiatrist William (Richard Coyle) undermines her feelings ofworth and as she learns more about the sacrifices involved in thefamous affair, she gains her own courage to find happiness.
The film flips back and forth between the present and the 1930s and itis the historical aspect of the film that is almost flawless. We get toknow Wallis Simpson (in a brilliant portrayal by Andrea Riseborough)and understand her failed first two marriages (at the time we meet hershe is still married to Ernest Simpson played by David Harbour), andsee the American sizzle that made her the talk of England. When Walliswrangles her way to meet Prince Edward, better known as David, (JamesD'Arcy) there is a chemistry that develops to the point of passion andultimately leads to Wallis divorcing Ernest to marry Edward - a deedthat leads to Edward's abdication of the throne for 'the woman I love',which he had assumed when King George V (James Fox) dies, to hisstammering brother Bertie (Laurence Fox) and his caustic wife Elizabeth(Natalie Dormer). The paparazzi make their life miserable and thecouple is not allowed to return to England until Edward dies, with thefaithful Wallis supportively by his side through 36 years of marriage.
Wally - meanwhile - longs to be pregnant but sustains such abuse fromWilliam that she ultimately yields to the loving friendship the auctionhouse Russian security guard Evgeni (Oscar Isaac) and begins her lifeagain. The two stories are connected by Wally's obsession with theroyal couple's notorious affair and at auction's end she is givenaccess to private letters between Wallis and Edward that have been inthe possession of Mohamed Al-Fayed (Haluk Bilginer) - a tacked onending that feels ill at ease and redundant.
Everyone connected t the biopic angle of this film is excellent andMadonna shows that she knows how to direct affairs of the heart in aroyal situation very well indeed. Both Andrea Riseborough and JamesD'Arcy are superb and the costumes and music and cinematography of thishistorical portion are exceptionally well done. Though the idea of thecontemporary sluggish story is reasonable, Abbie Cornish seemsuncomfortable with the script: Oscar Isaac shines as her new love. Inall the film, though spotty, has merit and it not a bad debut forMadonna as director.
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.