Saturday, September 15, 2012

Cinema Saturday


W.E.
The Weinstein Company
May 1, 2012
119 minutes; R 'for some domestic violence, nudity and language'
info at IMDb/buy on Amazon

W.E. the film directed and co-written by Madonna, tells the story of Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII along side that of modern-day Wally Winthrop, her fascination with Wallis and her own romance.

With an auction of the Edward and Wallis' estate about to take place at Sotheby's, Wally - named for Wallis Simpson - becomes fascinated with the items. Coming day after day to view the collection, she imagines the couple's life (and film viewers are transported into the life shared by Wallis and Edward) and thinks of the story not told.

Wally, her own marriage struggling, thinks of how things must have been for the married Wallis as she fell in love with the future King of England.


The way that W.E. tells the story of the two women - Wally and Wallis - their loves, and their lives, is interesting. In the beginning it's quite confusing. The film alternates between the two characters, not always clearly and at times, it's not completely clear who is who.

It seems that W.E. starts out supposing you know at least a bit about Wallis Simpson (and more than 'she was the married woman who Edward fell in love with'). If you know some of the facts about her life prior to their relationship, the beginning of the movie is a lot clearer. Otherwise, it's hard to be quite sure of just who everyone is (some characters are introduced/explained quite a bit later in the movie as small asides, leading to my theory that prior knowledge is expected).

Once everything is settled, the main characters are introduced, the relationships established it's quite an interesting film. It's not what I was expecting but it is unique and good. From everything I heard prior to it's release, W.E. was meant to look at things from Wallis Simpson's perspective and on that front, it succeeds.

It doesn't delve very deeply into her character, doesn't quite make her sympathetic  or terribly likable, but it does make her less 'the evil other woman' than most things have seemed. to.

The most emotion seen from her came towards the end of the film and wasn't exactly from her - at least not directly, at least not her character. That happening earlier or being expanded would have been interesting.

It's an enjoyable movie, but didn't quite leave either of the characters - Wally or Wallis as a standout. If you're interested in the subject, though, you might like seeing this one.

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