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W.E. (2011)

Andrea Riseborough , James D'Arcy , Madonna  |  R |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (195 customer reviews)

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W.E. + Wallis & Edward + Woman He Loved, The
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Product Details

  • Actors: Andrea Riseborough, James D'Arcy
  • Directors: Madonna
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: The Weinstein Company
  • DVD Release Date: May 1, 2012
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (195 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0059XTV4Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,583 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "W.E." on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

It was a love story that amazed and scandalized the world: because royal protocol barred him marrying a divorced commoner (and an American, to boot), Edward VIII abdicated the British throne in 1936 in order to be with "the woman I love." That story is brought to the screen in W./E., along with a parallel 1990s tale of a woman (Abbie Cornish, Bright Star) fascinated by the saga as she moons about the halls of Sotheby's in anticipation of an auction of the royals' stuff. This is the project dreamed up by Madonna for her narrative-feature directing debut, and you can presume that Madonna identifies with the lives of the royals, living their dramas out in a fishbowl for all the world to see. The 1930s scenes are full of period fluff and a certain amount of satisfying royal intrigue (crisscrossing at points with The King's Speech). Perhaps the film makes too many excuses for the future king (the real Edward VIII was something of a nitwit, and at that delicate moment in history it was probably a good thing he departed the scene), ably played here by James D'Arcy. But at least his American lady, Wallis Simpson, is embodied in lively fashion by Andrea Riseborough (from Brighton Rock), who is fully convincing as a subject of fascination. The draggy modern scenes don't fare as well, although it is curious that Madonna seeks to make an out-and-out art movie instead of a crowd-pleasing slice of entertainment. Apparently she saves that impulse for her music. --Robert Horton

Product Description

Madonna’s Academy Award nominated film (2011 Best Achievement in Costume Design, Arianne Phillips) delivers an elegantly stylish and beautifully dramatic look into the lives of two fragile yet passionate women intertwined across the decades. In 1998, New Yorker Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) becomes enamored with what is believed to be the greatest romance of the 20th century – King Edward VIII’s (James D’Arcy) surrender of the crown for the woman he loved, the chic and charismatic American, Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough). Through a series of secret letters, Wally discovers the lifetime of romance Edward and Wallis shared together.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
The much maligned, brief theatrical film by Madonna - W.E. - fairs better on the small screen than it likely did in the movie houses. The stories are bifurcated, each one resembling a television creation - one a docudrama biopic, the other a contemporary soap opera. That Madonna, who directed and wrote the screenplay with Alek Keshishian, decided to mix the two stories is a bit daring but in some ways it works very well. In other ways the parallel stories seem like time traveling cars on the same highway that never quite travel at the same speed or quality.

The film mixes the notorious affair between King Edward VIII and American divorcée Wallis Simpson with a contemporary romance between a married woman and a Russian security guard. The time is 1998 and at an auction of the estate of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor unhappily married ex-Sotheby employee Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) becomes obsessed by their historic love story. Her own marriage to womanizing, abusive psychiatrist William (Richard Coyle) undermines her feelings of worth and as she learns more about the sacrifices involved in the famous affair, she gains her own courage to find happiness.

The film flips back and forth between the present and the 1930s and it is the historical aspect of the film that is almost flawless. We get to know Wallis Simpson (in a brilliant portrayal by Andrea Riseborough) and understand her failed first two marriages (at the time we meet her she is still married to Ernest Simpson played by David Harbour), and see the American sizzle that made her the talk of England.
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38 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Format:Blu-ray
After seeing Madonna's love letter to controversial Wallis Simpson "W.E" get savaged by the mainstream media, I was somewhat apprehensive about the film. The love affair between Simpson and King Edward VIII is a stunning and momentous true-life story that resulted in him abdicating the crown and becoming a lifelong exile from the country he had served. It is unparalleled in terms of historical significance. What a fantastic subject! I knew that Madonna had a particular interest in Simpson's side of the story, so this seemed a novel approach to a somewhat familiar tale. From advance previews, it seemed that the film was positioned to be a sweeping romance so I didn't really expect a by-the-numbers historical biography. And in truth, I learned little new about the pair that I hadn't seen in countless other representations. But even taken on its own terms, I don't know that "W.E." really accomplishes what it set out to do. It's not all bad, by any stretch, but the movie keeps the viewer at arm's length throughout.

In a strange decision, Madonna and her co-writer Alek Keshishian filter the famous love story through the eyes of a modern woman (Abbie Cornish). Cornish plays a rather expressionless upscale housewife tortured by an extravagant lifestyle and an inattentive husband. Just to elicit some sympathy for her plight of complete freedom and wealth, her husband is made out to be a cackling caricature of evil. Cornish is obsessively fixated on Wallis Simpson in a very creepy way (Simpson stories play non-stop on the radio and TV, she spends every waking moment studying memorabilia from the time period, and she has imaginary conversations with her idol).
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:Amazon Instant Video
After seeing Madonna's love letter to controversial Wallis Simpson "W.E" get savaged by the mainstream media, I was somewhat apprehensive about the film. The love affair between Simpson and King Edward VIII is a stunning and momentous true-life story that resulted in him abdicating the crown and becoming a lifelong exile from the country he had served. It is unparalleled in terms of historical significance. What a fantastic subject! I knew that Madonna had a particular interest in Simpson's side of the story, so this seemed a novel approach to a somewhat familiar tale. From advance previews, it seemed that the film was positioned to be a sweeping romance so I didn't really expect a by-the-numbers historical biography. And in truth, I learned little new about the pair that I hadn't seen in countless other representations. But even taken on its own terms, I don't know that "W.E." really accomplishes what it set out to do. It's not all bad, by any stretch, but the movie keeps the viewer at arm's length throughout.

In a strange decision, Madonna and her co-writer Alek Keshishian filter the famous love story through the eyes of a modern woman (Abbie Cornish). Cornish plays a rather expressionless upscale housewife tortured by an extravagant lifestyle and an inattentive husband. Just to elicit some sympathy for her plight of complete freedom and wealth, her husband is made out to be a cackling caricature of evil. Cornish is obsessively fixated on Wallis Simpson in a very creepy way (Simpson stories play non-stop on the radio and TV, she spends every waking moment studying memorabilia from the time period, and she has imaginary conversations with her idol).
Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars beautiful but silly
beautiful but the modern story was silly
Published 2 days ago by laj
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I just loved this movie.
What a way to open our eyes on a woman who changed English history.
Published 3 days ago by Mercedes
3.0 out of 5 stars I found the modern portion annoying.
I would have preferred that there had not been a modern story attached to the recollection and retelling of the romance of Wally Simpson and King Edward. Read more
Published 7 days ago by royale
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good
Published 9 days ago by Orion
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this movie
Loved this movie. The 2 female actors were wonderful. If you r staying away from this because of Madonna....don't. Two love stories told here.
I cared about both. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Joan R. Petersen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great
Published 18 days ago by Melanie Douglas
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful. Highly recommend to see the romantic side
Beautiful. Highly recommend to see the romantic side....
Published 19 days ago by BPaley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great movie
Published 21 days ago by Thomas A. Firestone
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than Expected
So much has been written and/or dramatized about this couple, the Duke and Dutchess of Windsor, that I didn't expect anything new, but Madonna's interesting slant on their love... Read more
Published 1 month ago by maggie
5.0 out of 5 stars An Artistic Composition in Motion
Madonna created a classic! Every frame is a treasure. I wish she would do the same with my children's story, "Odyssey of Andromeda, Cosmic Crusader and the Stolen Child". [...]
Published 1 month ago by GramaGoldilocks
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