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Abbie Cornish, Andrea Riseborough, James D'Arcy, Oscar Isaac, Richard Coyle ... see more see more... , David Harbour , James Fox , Judy Parfitt , Haluk Bilginer , Geoffrey Palmer , Natalie Dormer , Laurence Fox , Douglas Reith , Katie McGrath , Christina Chong , Nick Smithers , Damien Thomas , Liberty Ross , Ryan Hayward , Charlotte Comer , Duane Henry , Anna Skellern , Penny Downie , David Redden , Alberto Vasquez , Nicole Harvey , Daniel Andre Pageon , Hywel Morgan , Patricia Stark , Annabelle Wallis , Audrey Brisson , Emily Denniston , Suzanne Bertish , Ben Willbond , Leigh Zimmerman , David Collins , Linda Glick , Gil Cohen Allono , Stephen Jones , James McNeill , Lisa Gherari , Vincent Montuel

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... read more read more... 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

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47% liked it

4,857 ratings

Critics

13% liked it

104 critics

R, 1 hr. 59 min.

Directed by: Madonna

Release Date: February 3, 2012

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DVD Release Date: May 1, 2012

Stats: 384 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (384)


  • July 24, 2014
    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.?"
  • November 29, 2013
    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... read more 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.
  • April 18, 2013
    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... read more 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..
  • January 6, 2013
    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 lik... read moree the honest portrayal of the two main characters. This was actually one of the best movies I've seen in awhile.
  • May 23, 2012
    Madonna employs her shallow view of life in this self-indulgent project of pure vanity to tell two insipid stories that hardly blend together. An excruciating and unfocused mess about two pathetic women full of self-pity and with no self-respect.
  • May 10, 2012
    Besides a stylish and evocative piano number, Madonna's latest directing project falls flat, and hard. With a repetitious and unexplained connection between Abbie Cornish's character and Andrea Riseborough as Wallis Simpson, the film tends to be more about violence towards women ... read moreand a biographical look at the relationship between King Edward's VIII and Mrs. Simpson than anything emotionally connectable. The film bores to the point of exhaustion and feels too much like a big budget flop.
  • fb1025970122
    May 2, 2012
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    If you were at all interested in the other side of the story that was happening during 2010's best picture winner "The King's Speech" well, now you have the chance to see it play out in director Madonna's beautiful-looking if not slow moving tribute titled "W./E.". The film tells... read more the story of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. How the King of England fell so deeply in love with a twice divorced American woman that he abdicated the throne, his title, and his family to spend his life with her. Pretty crazy right? Madonna, who took on the screenwriting challenge here as well, has made their story a mirror to the more present day life of Wally Winthrop, a young married woman who is obsessed with what she believes to be this ultimate kind of fairy tale love. Needless to say, her marriage is not all chocolates and roses. She begins to research their story and naturally finds out that it isn't all it was made out to be. It is interesting to get the story from the woman's perspective as most historians look to Edward and all that he gave up to be the woman, but the film is right in assuming its position of what made this woman so appealing? What was it about her that made the King literally give up everything? The bad part about the film is that it never really feels like it delves into those details. I enjoy Abbie Cornish and her work, but in all honesty would have rather seen a straightforward biopic if Madonna was going to do their story justice, then go all in. That said, she could have easily done it with Andrea Riseborough as Wallis and James D'Arcy as Edward. they are superb in their roles and the characters they've embodied do indeed deserve their own film. A film that is as exciting and intriguing as there romance, not one as boring and uptight as "W./E.".
  • July 12, 2013
    Great cast, great story, and a wonderful ending. I am very glad that I sat through the overall slow pace of this movie to get to the end.
  • March 12, 2013
    It took me a little bit not to be confused by the beginning of this movie because I didn't know they were going to have parallel stories, one starting in the 20's and one in 1998. Directed by Madonna, this was different and slow moving but a fantastically acted story about King E... read moredward's abdication of the throne to be with his lover Wallis Simpson, along with the story of a woman in 1998 obsessed with this famous love story.
  • fb5320086
    June 6, 2012
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    I was expecting much worse on this honestly. Sure it is overly long, a tad contrived, and the two stories never really seem to gel in a meaningful way but its surprisingly entertaining, well shot, and admirable in its attempt to tell the story of Wallis and Edward in a less than ... read morestraightforward way. I welcome more films from Madonna if this is her first shot out the box.

Critic Reviews


Joe Williams
March 16, 2012
Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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. Full Review

Colin Covert
March 5, 2012
Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune

With "W.E." Madonna gorges on glamour, architectural porn and haute couture but starves the mind. Full Review

Lisa Kennedy
March 2, 2012
Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post

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 ... Full Review

Connie Ogle
March 1, 2012
Connie Ogle, Miami Herald

A movie more concerned with how things look than how they feel. Full Review

Bill Goodykoontz
February 16, 2012
Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic

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. Full Review

Ann Hornaday
February 10, 2012
Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

A movie that's less about people than the fetishistic obsession with style. Full Review

Tom Long
February 10, 2012
Tom Long, Detroit News

"W.E." is not awful. It looks quite nice at times, and Riseborough delivers an exquisite if overdrawn performance as Wallis. Full Review

Mick LaSalle
February 9, 2012
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

As a director, Madonna has flair without ability, but she does have flair. Full Review

Moira MacDonald
February 9, 2012
Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times

"W.E." is a mess, but it's certainly an attractive one; the characters are underdeveloped, yet so relentlessly art- directed that at least there's always something lovely to look at. Full Review

Carrie Rickey
February 9, 2012
Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer

Madonna the director deserves a script better than the one Madonna the screenwriter handed off to her. Full Review

View more W.E. reviews

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Facts


    • 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.

W.E. : Watch Free on TV


W.E. Trivia


  • Complete this verse of the song of the knights of Camelot from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." We're knights of the round table We dance when'er we're able We do routines and chorus scenes With footwork impeccable We dine well here in Camelot  Answer »
  • Which Disney film contains a song which has the lyrics 'We are Siamese if you please'?  Answer »
  • In the movie Shall We Dance?, what did the sign read that was hanging over the window outside of the studio that Richard Gere's character saw from the train?  Answer »
  • In what movie do we hear: "When I was growing up, I knew I was different. The other girls were blonde and delicate, and I was a swarthy six-year-old with sideburns"  Answer »

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