The Woman He Loved (TV Movie 1988) Poster

(1988 TV Movie)

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Rated Zzzz...
eye32 August 1999
A bad rehashing of the Edward VIII story with Jane Seymour glamming it up. CBS wanted another "lavish" mini-series so they just $$$$ all over the place.

First they scored Anthony Andrews, Seymour's leading man from 1982's "The Scarlett Pimpernel" - they sparked well there, despite CBS' best efforts. Here, he doesn't act; he simply imitates Edward VIII - and badly. It's embarrassing to watch.

Then, they scored two other actors: Robert Hardy yet again reprising Winston Churchill - somebody had seen him in 1981's "Winston Churchill: the Wilderness Years." He was the man himself in that production; here we see him only sitting and painting.

And then - for me this was the corker - CBS got David Waller to reprise his role as Stanley Baldwin from "Edward & Mrs. Simpson" - the 1980 British production that did this story right the first time. I saw that one, that was meaty work for everybody involved; here, Waller looked like somebody who just found out he was at the wrong party.
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6/10
watchable, but a little bit flat
didi-520 February 2009
Anthony Andrews imitates Edward, Duke of Windsor (but slightly better than Edward Fox did in 'Edward and Mrs Simpson'), while Jane Seymour is a fairly OK Wallis Simpson, a little bit scheming and a little bit vulnerable. She's backed up by Aunt Bessie (Olivia de Havilland, note-perfect but hardly stretched), while he is supported by Winston Churchill (Robert Hardy, good as ever).

It's the usual story often presented in true TV-movie style, very glossy and very referential to the Royals. So nothing really scandalous or new here, and sadly the film remains flatly unemotional so there is no engagement with the plight of Wallis or Edward.

So it is a reasonable effort, watchable television, but nothing fabulous. 'Edward and Mrs Simpson', having the luxury of more time to tell the story, is better; 'Wallis and Edward', getting the casting and pacing wrong, is worse.
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4/10
Stale version of the famous love affair stiffly acted...
Doylenf7 October 2006
One would think that with all the lavish care and expense that went into this made-for-TV movie, it would reflect something of the taste and manners of the upper class couple--Wallis Simpson and the Prince of Wales--instead of being a mawkish, unappetizing historical romance.

Nor is it helped by the fact that JANE SEYMOUR and ANTHONY ANDREWS give stiff, rather uncomfortable to watch performances in which the events move much too slowly to hold attention.

It's hard to understand why a star of OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND's caliber would wish to play the supporting role of Aunt Bessie since the role is so colorless she just about fades out of sight. At this stage in her career, Olivia was appearing in so many "nobility" roles requiring a regal presence but nothing more.

A trivial movie best left forgotten among all the made-for-TV movies of that era.
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7/10
Very fine, but too short and incomplete
Catharina_Sweden20 March 2013
The story about Edward and Wallis continues to fascinate - especially as it really happened. I have heard the version, that Edward in reality was too weak for the role of king, and needed an excuse to abdicate. And that Wallis got to be this excuse - which made his abdication into a romantic sacrifice instead of a failure. I suppose we will never know the true cause - and maybe it was a little bit of both. People are complicated!

I liked this rendering of the story. It gave a fine and believable picture of the time period. Jane Seymore was just perfect as Wallis, and Anthony Andrews, with his upper-class accent and manners as always, was just as perfect as Edward! He looked very sad, weary, stiff and quite haggard all the time though - but maybe this was deliberate..? I think, however, that more could have been made of this movie, with its very good cast and interesting subject matter. First of all it ought to have been longer - at least as long as an ordinary feature film. And then I would have wanted to see more of the couple's love and courtship and happy times...

But all in all it was a nice movie, well worth watching!
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2/10
Pretty Awful
childgaia73 August 2018
Anthony Andrews is terrible as Edward V111. Wooden, emotionless and unconvincing. Jane Seymour was just okay. Seen a few versions of this story and this was definitely the worse.
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9/10
Excellent rendition, beautifully photographed, and lifelike.
Camargue29 April 2008
As a devotee of the lives and times of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, this is, by far, my favorite rendition of these people and their times.

It is beautifully photographed, and competently acted. Specifically, it is not overly dramatic, because the drama was in the situation, not in anyone's dramatized reaction.

"The Woman He Loved" begins as Wallis and Ernest Simpson take up lush lodgings in London. As they negotiate their way into London society, by ingratiating themselves into the upper echelons, it is inevitable that they meet the Prince of Wales, David Windsor, who is destined to be crowned King Edward VIII. Much to the shock of his immediate (and intimate) circle, Wallis becomes the only person outside of his family to address him as "David." The future king is at a loss at how to react, but cannot bring himself to correct her. She appears to be candid, and spontaneous; a typical American, yet her actions are studied and cunning. He is both intrigued and amused, and his lack of restraint provides encouragement so that she behaves even more brazenly. The relationship between Wallis and the future king is filled with anecdotes of personal affection, and times of great tribulation as their relationship deepens to become the infamous 'romance of the century.'

Anthony Andrews IS David Windsor, shy, slight, elite, precise, sympathetic, empathetic, yet equally out-of-touch. Somehow, he is emboldened to speak on social issues, while exhibiting disastrous judgment. Equally well matched, Jane Seymour perfectly captures the all consuming, calculating and ambitious personality of Wallis Warfield Spencer Simpson. Cold, yet charming, demanding yet vulnerable, and always persnickety, Wallis Simpson was a force of nature. How else could a twice-divorced, not particularly beautiful, American commoner, bring the King of England to his knees?

Olivia de Havilland is perfect as Aunt Bessie. She assumes a vital role in the development of their relationship. In essence, she took the place of an entire royal court for Wallis' side; and she was up to the task.

In a world where, in spite of their advantages, David and Wallis felt they did not belong, they found each other. No one can estimate the change in the quality of life when people find "the rest of themselves" but this is what appears to have happened when they met and married. Wallis addressed him as David (in private) but she used his royal appellation of Edward as a design element, to form their initials into "WE." They truly painted themselves as the two of them (WE) against the world.

The personal story of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor is not just a love story; it is a story for the ages. For centuries, men have waged wars to become Kings of England; this man willingly walked away and gave up Throne and Sceptre, Crown and Country, because it was the only way he could marry the woman he loved.
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