W.E. (2012) - Rotten Tomatoes


W.E. (2012)



Critic Consensus: W.E. exhibits director Madonna's keen eye for striking style, but this shallow biopic is too enamored with aesthetics to offer any insight into its subject.

W.E. Photos

Movie Info

W.E. tells the story of two fragile but determined women - Wally Winthrop and Wallis Simpson - separated by more than six decades. In 1998, lonely New Yorker Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) is obsessed with what she perceives as the ultimate love story: King Edward's VIII's abdication of the British throne for the woman he loved, American divorcée Wallis Simpson. But Wally's research, including several visits to the Sotheby's auction of the Windsor Estate, reveals that the couple's life together was not as perfect as she thought. Weaving back and forth in time, W.E. intertwines Wally's journey of discovery in New York with the story of Wallis (Andrea Riseborough) and Edward (James D'Arcy), from the glamorous early days of their romance to the slow unraveling of their lives in the decades that followed. -- (C) Weinstein

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Abbie Cornish
as Wally Winthrop
Andrea Riseborough
as Wallis Simpson
Richard Coyle
as William Winthrop
James Fox
as King George V
Judy Parfitt
as Queen Mary
Geoffrey Palmer
as Stanley Baldwin
Natalie Dormer
as Elizabeth
Douglas Reith
as Lord Brownlow
Katie McGrath
as Lady Thelma
Nick Smithers
as Major Fruity Metcalfe
Liberty Ross
as Connie Thaw
Ryan Hayward
as Win Spencer
Charlotte Comer
as Lady Alexandra
Duane Henry
as Dwayne/Security Guard
Penny Downie
as Dr. Vargas
David Redden
as Auctioneer
Hywel Morgan
as Journalist
Patricia Stark
as Newscaster
Annabelle Wallis
as Arabella Green
Emily Denniston
as Sotheby's Intern
Suzanne Bertish
as Lady Cunard
Ben Willbond
as Equerry
Leigh Zimmerman
as East Side Woman
David Collins
as Male Guest
Linda Glick
as Woman Getting Taxi
Gil Cohen Allono
as Hotel Clerk
Stephen Jones
as Royal Milliner
James McNeill
as Sotheby's Staffer
Lisa Gherari
as Secretary
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Critic Reviews for W.E.

All Critics (113) | Top Critics (47)

With the right amount of directorial mishandling, you can utterly waste the talent of two actresses who are otherwise first-class.

August 31, 2018 | Full Review…

The coda plays like one long and petulant foot stomp about sacrifice and due recognition of said sacrifice, and in that, too, it's impossible not to tease the thread back to its maker, striking a pose as misunderstood icon.

March 22, 2012 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…

It's hard to hate a movie that escorts us to such lovely locales, but instead of marking the territory as her own, Madonna has directed a potentially provocative story like a virgin.

March 16, 2012 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

The film is stylishly shot. And, in weaving the stories of Wally and Wallis, Madonna trusts viewers to move from mood to mood, era to era without overexplanation, the way music-video editing long ago trained us to.

March 2, 2012 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

A movie more concerned with how things look than how they feel.

March 1, 2012 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

The production is nice looking, and telling the Edward-and-Wallis story from her side is an interesting idea, but it's one that Madonna simply can't pull off here.

February 16, 2012 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for W.E.

Madonna employs her shallow view of life in this self-indulgent project of pure vanity to tell two insipid stories that hardly blend together, creating an excruciating and unfocused mess about two pathetic women full of self-pity and with no self-respect.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Stylish to the point of being strange. The film seemed lifeless and lacking any significant point or emotion. This film would have made more sense as a photo shoot. "W.E." should be renamed "W.T.F.?"

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

Not sure what I think of this one. First the pluses. The movie certainly looks stylish. It's filmed beautifully and I love the outfits and make up used for the "period" parts. Abbie Cornish is great, as is the actress who plays the first Wally. If directing a movie is just about getting things to "look" right and choosing a good cast, then Madonna has done a great job. I did think the "pretty vacant" scene was similar to one in "Marie Antoinette", though. Now the not so good, the story was a bit hard to follow. I didn't understand Abbie's fascination with the first Wally aside from she was named after her. I also thought it floundered in the parts she "saw" and spoke to the original Wally. I didn't really understand the relationships with Wally and her husband and the King, and the beating scene, that was kind of out of nowhere. To be honest, the guys in this are pretty wooden and I couldn't really tell one from the other. Not entirely sure which one beat the first Wally and where the miscarriage came into it. The more modern story was easier to follow. Wally was pretty much married to a jerk, although I can see where her baby obsession must have been pretty annoying. I couldn't understand why she would even want to be with him considering, let alone have children with him. The security guard guy was a bit creepy too. The bit where he says she reminds him of his dead wife. Um. Great. Overall, a movie that looks great and keeps you watching, but a bit low on believability.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

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