6.3/10
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69 user 120 critic

W.E. (2011)

Trailer
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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.

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Popularity
3,105 ( 36)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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William Winthrop
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Ernest
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King George V
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Queen Mary
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Mohamed Al-Fayed
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Stanley Baldwin
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Bertie
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Lord Brownlow
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Lady Thelma
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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:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

20 January 2012 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

El romance del siglo  »

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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:

,  »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The majority of the film's budget was self-financed by Madonna, in addition to a UK tax credit. 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

Wally Winthrop: People seem to only focus on what he gave up for her. But what about what she gave up?
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Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Venice Film Festival 2011 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Pretty Vacant
Words and Music by Paul Cook (as Paul Thomas Cook), Steve Jones (as Stephen Philip Jones), Glen Matlock and John Lydon
Performed by The Sex Pistols
© 1977 Three Shadows Music (ASCAP)/ Warner Tamerlane Publishing Corp (BMI)/ Universal Music - Careers (BMI) Three Shadows Music administered by BMG Ruby Songs for the United States and Canada (ASCAP) All Rights Reserved Used by permission
© Warner/Chappell Music Ltd (PRS), Rotten Music Ltd (PRS) and Universal Music Publishing Limited (GB) (PRS) All Rights on behalf of itself and Rotten Music Ltd administered by Warner/Chappell Music Ltd All Rights Reserved
Published by Universal Music Publishing Ltd.
Licensed courtesy of Virgin Records Ltd courtesy of Warner Bros Records by arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
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User Reviews

 
pretty, awful.
25 January 2012 | by See all my reviews

There have been a lot of mixed reactions to this film. There's a reason for that: it's both good and bad. I didn't enjoy it but – staying away from the obvious tendency to judge this film based solely on the fact it's Madonna who's directed/co-wrote it – there are some diamonds in the (very) rough. The film tries to take two story lines which are set in completely different times and places, and merge them into one film. One of these plots are really good, the other really bad. The good one is the story of Edward VIII who abdicated from his place on the throne in order to marry a commoner, Wallis Simpson. The bad one is the story of an ordinary New York woman who's in the process of leaving an abusive relationship. The second story is trashy, melodramatic pulp. Any relation between these two story lines is contrived and every time it cuts between the two, it feels very awkward, forced, meaningless and confusing. It's a real shame, because the story of the Edward VIII is an extremely interesting one. There's so much there to write about: his controversial lifestyle, marriage to Wallis Simpson, abdication, relationship with George VI and the rest of the royal family – not to mention his alleged Nazi sympathies and friendship with Adolf Hitler! As a straight historical drama, this story would be truly riveting and I personally think it deserves a big budget treatment. It could even do well as a glossy romantic drama or a gritty political drama – or a mixture of both. I do appreciate that Madge has tried to tell this story (which has been done in film and TV before) from an alternative perspective: through the eyes of Wallis Simpson. This is a credible idea but the film doesn't focus enough on it. Instead, it's needlessly confused by a boring, ambiguous plot featuring a deluded and emotionally erratic protagonist nobody can relate to. The film is occasionally historically inaccurate and utterly bizarre in places. There is a point where a news reporter states that Edward is succeeding King George III, when it is in fact King George V (the former died more than a century before). There are also several absurdities and moments of sheer bad taste, most notably a scene where Edward and Wallis are popping pills at a party as they dance to the Sex Pistols in the 1930s! The fact Madonna chose the song 'Pretty Vacant' is probably more fitting than she'll realise. There is a consistent stream of these absurdities which cause serious detriment to the film's tone and coherency – as if it wasn't already hard enough to understand. There is no conclusion to this film either. By the end nothing is resolved, everything becomes wholly ambiguous and no explanation is given as to the meaning or core purpose of the film. Just before the credits role, as the camera pans up from nothingness to yet more nothingness, you're left thinking "what was the point in all of that?" Credit where credit's due though: the film has some nice cinematography. The fashion and costume design is great too. It's visually very good and you can tell there are some people working on this film who know what they're doing, but it's all wasted on a rotten script. The film seems to concentrate on fashion, materialism, aesthetics and stylistic elements more than telling a compelling story. It's just superficial. For me, the bad outweighs the good, and W.E. appears as nothing more than an opportunistic derivative of a sub-plot from the King's Speech, with potential that would never be realised here. Madonna's film is brash and contrived at best, random and pointless at worst.


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