W.E. (2012)

Release date: January 20, 2012
Directed by: Madonna
Written by: Madonna, Alek Keshishian
Cast: Abbie Cornish, James D’Arcy, Andrea Riseborough, Oscar Isaac

The movie that many are curious about. Our dear Juan Barquin was crying rivers that I got to see this first. I will admit, I saw the trailer and didn’t think much about it. The selling point of this movie is the fact that Madonna is behind it. From directing, writing to producing – this is Madonna’s baby. And the general idea I get is that many are out to find faults in this baby.

Many of you know of Madonna’s stint with acting. She may want to be a good actor, but sadly she isn’t. So I guess she decided to give the other parts of movie-making a chance. The thing is, you won’t hear from me about photography, angles or lightning. Sure, I felt that in some parts the movie was trying a bit too hard to be “good”, as in adding funky angles or shaky camera effects. I get it, Madonna, you are artsy. But what I understood from this movie was that it was made with a whole lot of heart.

It needed to be, seeing as you are partly telling the story of what many deem to be the best love story in the world – the one between the Duke (D’Arcy) and Duchess of Windsor (Riseborough).

I know a bit about it because I have a fascination with European royalty. It’s, after all, a topic filled with such scandalous stories it keeps you wanting more. But when it came to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, I always felt a great respect. I mean, how can you not when he gave up a crown to be able to be with the woman that he loved?

W.E. is divided into two parts. We follow how the Duke and Duchess of Windsor fall in love. We also follow Wally (Cornish), a young married New York woman that kind of becomes obsessed with their love story. When I saw the trailer, I felt that this dividing was a bit unnecessary, but that might be the part of me that loves costume drama — especially from late Victorian era. After watching the movie, I find the divide good. I will admit, Cornish was lovely as the lonely and depressed trophy wife that was so miserable with her marriage that she needs an outlet, which is how the story of the duchesses comes in to play. Because she is so heartbroken with how her “happy” story turned out, she becomes fascinated with the duchesses’ story. She longs to be loved in that way.

I have nothing bad to say about this movie, I really did like it. The parts where NY and Cornish come in to play are grey and a bit dark. Then the parts concerning the duchesses are colorful and loud. I really liked the contrast between the two worlds.

Madonna did one heck of a job picking her actors. I felt that everybody fit their roles perfectly – my eyes are especially drawn towards Riseborough, who was divine as the Duchess of Windsor. As she played the Duchess from her 20s all the way to her 70s, she kind of stole the show.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 


Music is all I do: I work in music, I write about music, I listen to music.

9 Responses

  1. oooh how refreshing to read a positive review of this! i’m not a fan of madonna’s directing, but it sounds like a real beauty to watch. i may give this a try.

    • Rodrigo says:

      @Candice Frederick, Based on the trailer, I’d wait for cable to see this one.

    • Julyssa Diaz says:

      @Candice Frederick, The directing was very try-hard but the story had me stuck on my seat. I liked the acting and some of the visuals.
      I’ve seen that many are giving this movie harsh reviews but I mean, the movie is watchable! I think people just love to hate on Madonna.

      • amy says:

        @Julyssa Diaz, there’s a “love to hate” culture that’s very popular. Plus, it’s so easy to hate on Madonna (or anyone, for that matter) these days.

  2. I haven’t seen this, but when I heard the cast list, I was surprised. I’ve liked Andrea Riseborough ever since she played Annie the ghost in the original pilot for Being Human (UK), in 2007 or 2008.

    • Julyssa Diaz says:

      @Diandra Rodriguez, She took my breath away. She was amazing in this part and so, ugh, completely stole the movie.

  3. Juan Barquin says:

    Oh man, I’m going to copy and paste what I wrote about this on my blog because I figured it’d be fun to have a semi-similar, yet different, opinion on it that’s still positive.

    Not nearly as bad as everyone makes this out to be. In all honest, the story isn’t very good. Had this stayed grounded in the 20s and 30s through the life of Wallis and Edward and thrown a little more history into the mix, this would have likely been better. This isn’t to say the whole “two stories at once” thing is entirely bad, because Abbie Cornish is just lovely in her mediocre at best present day story (although I can’t say the same for Oscar Isaac).

    It’s a beautiful film to look at and the set design, costume design, and cinematography all add to the appeal. It’s all very aesthetically pleasing and the film just feels romantic. I’ve actually never seen such good-looking scenes involving domestic violence amongst multiple parties in my life. It was almost like a ballet at times, even though it was a bit shocking. And the use of Abel Korzeniowski’s music, as well as other tracks, fits just wonderfully into the film.

    There’s a few mini-tracking shots that I loved and practically any sequence involving dancing is just gorgeous. The acting for the most part is pretty great, aside from a few that drop the ball on certain line deliveries. Andrea Riseborough is impressive and some of the lines written for her were pure gold. I can’t wait to see her get bigger and better roles. She’s got star quality honestly.

    Long story short: beautiful looks, good direction, good acting, bad story.It’s definitely not for everyone though, and I stand by the fact that I think the IMDB, Rotten, and Metascore ratings are all much, much lower than they should be. Ah well, people see Madonna’s name on something and the gunshots go off one by one as they poorly attempt to kill her directorial career.

  1. August 27, 2013

    […] W.E (2012) [UK] […]

  2. November 12, 2013

    […] figures and their scandalous affairs; just look at the recent works My Week With Marilyn and W.E. about Monroe and Wallis Simpson respectively. The sad fact though is that most of these films, […]

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