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W.E. (2011)

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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 & 4 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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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French | Russian

Release Date:

20 January 2012 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

El romance del siglo 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:

$868,439
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Semtex Films, IM Global See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Datasat | Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Wallis Simpson was a patron of the Paris couture house of Madeleine Vionnet in the 1930's. Her original orders are still held in the company's archives, and recreations of four of those gowns were made by the fashion house for this film. 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 Nostromo
Sound Created and Performed by Mark Ayres
© 1996 Silva Screen Records Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A fantasy with realistic (and historical) roots...well done!
29 October 2012 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

W.E. (2011)

Don't even think about who directed this. Think of it as a multi-layered, multi-era epic centering on the marriage of King Edward and his American love, Wallis Simpson. He's the English king who abdicated for love. But this is the story of the love, Wallis, the woman who gave up as much as the king did, or so the thrust of the movie suggests.

It's rather good! It mixes a bit of fantasizing with a contemporary woman, Wally, finding her obsession with the Wallis of history (1930s) is more than coincidence. The narrative flips between several parts of the royal story before WWII and the contemporary version, which includes a budding relationship with a guard at an exhibition of Wallis Simpson memorabilia.

Whether you find either story convincing doesn't matter. One of them is of course based on history, and is interesting if you don't already know the facts. The other is an echo of the same, with the woman having to become strong and independent just as her earlier namesake did.

What is most interesting is the way the two stories are inter-spliced, including some scenes where the two times zones are mixed (apparently in Wally's head, but it's very real to the audience). We start to see how often and completely women are stuck in situations they would not choose if they knew ahead of time. It's about independence, yes, but also failure to be independent and the consequences. And maybe it's about learning a little from history.

The director? Madonna. Yes, the singer from Michigan. The director of the terrible bomb "Filth and Wisdom." Here there is some real cinematic intelligence. It's a good movie. Flawed, a bit longer than it needs to be, a bit forced in the layering of stories, but well acted and conceived.


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