WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Two love stories, one historic and one contemporary, are interwoven. The famous romance between King Edward VIII and American divorcée Wallis Simpson is juxtaposed with the affair of a Russian security guard with a New York trophy wife Wally Winthrop. Wally is obsessed with the story of Edward and the woman he loved, and embarks on her own research of their life together, even attending the Sotheby's auction of the Windsor Estate. She comes to see that their relationship, although glamorous, was not the perfect one that she had imagined it to be.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Well, the primary part of this section is to tell you whether this movie is good or not (as the title suggests) and quite frankly, W.E. is not. Now, if you’re reading this, you’ve likely read the synopsis and know that the film is a modern day love story that looks back on the scandalous relationship between King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. Abbie Cornish’s character is named after Wallis and she’s romanticizing their relationship and wondering what it would’ve been like to be them, more specifically through the eyes of Wallis. It’s just done so bizarrely though. We go through Wally’s life and then something will trigger a flashback to Wallis. When we go back to Wally, for some reason or another she’ll be having some sort of episode where Wallis is currently with her and they’re carrying out a conversation.
I understand what Madonna is trying to do with the film, but it’s not done well and the overall impression that the film winds up giving is that it was poorly put together. More than anything else, I hated the music that accompanied the film, which to me seems sort of laughable since music is mostly what Madonna is known for. Madonna, thankfully, does not include her own personal soundtrack for the film, but the soundtrack that she did choose to go along with it just doesn’t entirely work for me.
The real shame here is the waste of perfectly good talent. Madonna can obviously afford to do whatever she wants with this film and the Making Of feature really showcases that she does. The costumes are beautiful and a lot of the details are actually quite nice, like all the locations that they film at. The actors and actresses of this film are just, as mentioned, so wasted. They seemingly do the best that they can with the script and the dialogue, but when you’re not given much to work with, only so much of what you’re trying to convey will be conveyed.
Andrea Riseborough is particularly wonderful as Wallis Simpson, but it was far from a movie saving performance. As a sidenote, she really looked a lot like a younger Eva Green in the film. Abbie Cornish is almost always wonderful, but her character was so bland and mumbly that her parts could’ve been cut out of the film entirely and I wouldn’t have minded. Additionally, she looked like she had been given a plastic face… she was either wearing stupid amounts of makeup or someone got a smidge airbrush happy during editing.
The Making Of W.E. Featuring Madonna: Your basic making of feature that contains interviews with the actors and actresses in the film. Most making of features contain a bit with the director regardless, but for some reason, they apparently felt it was necessary to mention her name in the title of the feature. Not sure why. She does refer to the film as “my movie” a lot, so I guess this was her feature too.
To me, the point of this story was for Madonna to get the story of King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson out from the perspective of Wallis. She attempts to use a modern day woman as a sort of vessel for telling the story, but instead winds up adding on an unnecessary amount of time for parts that didn’t really need to be there. The modern day story didn’t really have any proper place in the film and the story that Madonna really wanted to put forth should’ve been the one that she solely focused on.
I wish I had nicer things to say about this film, but the truth of the matter is that it’s just not a very enjoyable and engaging film. The special features have clearly been added in just for the sake of being able to say that they have something and I don’t think that it’s really worth owning on DVD or Blu-ray.