6.3/10
11,004
72 user 122 critic

W.E. (2011)

Trailer
2:30 | Trailer

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ON DISC
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
Reviews
Popularity
4,092 ( 506)
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 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$47,074, 5 February 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$583,455

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,042,203
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

A real auction of Wallis Simpson's personal effects (including luggage, negligee and accessories) took place on March 17, 2011, facilitated by Kerry Taylor Auctions of central London. See more »

Goofs

At the start of the film (2'40), Wally Winthrop is shown taking a bath. When she turns on the bath taps (faucets), the plug is clearly hanging down but in the next shot it is plugged in. See more »

Quotes

Wallis Simpson: Attractive, my dear, is a polite way of saying a woman's made the most of what she's got.
See more »

Connections

References Creep (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Love Alone Duke and Duchess Remix
Composed by Rufus Callender
Performed by Blind Bake
Remixed by Sam Music
Published by the Richmond Organization
Master courtesy of Goombay Life World Music, LLC
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User Reviews

A Semi-Noble Failure
20 January 2012 | by jimmy_mack1973See all my reviews

Having finally opened in the UK, I've now had the opportunity to watch 'W.E.', having followed its coverage to this point with interest. I can't, in all honestly, say that this is a good movie. I'll back the common positives and reiterate that it looks amazing and Andrea Riseborough is wonderful in it. The score, while lovely, is over- powering at times - Madonna is obviously terrified of silence!

I went with the movie quite happily for the first hour. The Wallis and Edward scenes are effective (I thought the dizzying/choppy camera work worked really well contrasting with the vintage images) and reminded me quite a bit of Stephen Fry's movie "Bright Young Things". But they had absolutely zero dramatic tension. Largely, this was due to the fact that they weren't chronological, but also it was because (to my horror) they almost seemed there to serve the modern day story, rather than vice versa.

And as for those modern day parts ... well ... Firstly, I'll say that I didn't think the concept was bad and it had potential. However, they needed to be trimmed by about three quarters. Christ, did they ever go on. The dialogue was serviceable, at best, and toe-curling at worst. The character of Wally was about as engaging as a paper clip and that was largely due to Abby Cornish's lifeless performance. Honestly, I wanted to scream at the screen, "Stop whispering all the time and TALK, woman!" That said, if the movie had only cut to these scenes every so often and used them as well-timed interjections, rather than as a story worthy of screen time in their own right, it would have been more bearable.

The film really lost me in the second hour when I realised it had used up all its party tricks and it was obvious where it was going. (And, no, I don't mean the Wallis/Edward story arch, but how it was going to contrast the two tales, and what the oh-so-obvious climax was going to be.) By the end, I couldn't wait for it to finish.

There are some lovely scenes, though, and several nice touches throughout. But while the infamous 'Pretty Vacant' sequence is probably trying to say profound things about Wallis having a punk spirit, it feels rather out of place. (It's fun, though, I'll give it that.)

So, really, it's nowhere near the one star disaster many are claiming. And I, genuinely, can't see why anyone could charge it would be, other than to appear 'cool' to knock Madge. It's got too much going for it, for that.

But the reason I said 'semi-noble failure' is because, while I think it had some ambition, it's indulgent to a fault. At least twenty minutes of this movie are taken up by Abby Cornish wandering around Sothebys, exchanging in vacant platitudes with the Russian security guard, or looking blandly at something we're told should be exciting by the volume of the score. And, I guess, the blame for including such non-interesting stuff must lie with the movie's director.


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