Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 52 Ratings

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  • Summary: Madonna's W.E. is a tale about the search for true love in the modern world, viewed through the prism of one of history's most fabled romances. The year is 1998, and Manhattan is abuzz with anticipation about the upcoming auction of the estate of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. But the auction is far more than a diversion for Wally Winthrop, a transplanted Southerner trapped in an unhappy and abusive marriage. Transfixed by the exquisite artifacts of the Windsors' lives, Wally becomes obsessed with the love story of Wallis Simspon, the chic, charismatic American who captured the heart of King Edward VIII. As she learns more about the sacrifices Wallis made in choosing to be with Edward, Wally finds the courage to follow her own heart and create her own happiness. (CanalStudio) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 32
  2. Negative: 9 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Diego Costa
    Dec 12, 2011
    W.E.'s is a kind of dynamic pleasure that allows for non-shameful identification with the feminine and a fantasy of becoming what we see.
  2. Reviewed by: Damon Wise
    Jan 16, 2012
    An uneven study of a notorious love story, raised by some superb performances and nuances, but brought down by awkward direction.
  3. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Mar 15, 2012
    The nearest thing to W. E. is Sofia Coppola's "Marie Antoinette," which tried to make a sympathetic victim of another of history's most notorious royal wives.
  4. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Dec 8, 2011
    W.E., Madonna's second go at directing a feature film, leaves one wishing she'd find other creative outlets for those times when she's bored with the pop-star life.
  5. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Feb 2, 2012
    The upshot is that instead of a film about a love that conquered a king and nearly undid a kingdom, Madonna has come up with a female friendship movie, which would be fine if she weren't busy trying to prove her art-film bona fides.
  6. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Feb 9, 2012
    Madonna stayed married to director Guy Ritchie just long enough to absorb his most grating cinematic instincts - shooting in every style, in an addled, shuffle-mode, falsely glamorizing way until all is chaos. And, astonishingly, boredom.
  7. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Dec 12, 2011
    It's a shame that W.E. smells so bad.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 13
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 13
  3. Negative: 3 out of 13
  1. Nov 11, 2013
    This is really sad that this really great movie get so much hate only because it's Madonna movie.
    I'm 100% sure that if she would decide to
    use fake name as a director she would get much better scores.
    Well shame on you, if you judge it only because you can stand Queen of Pop being perfect in everything she does
  2. Dec 7, 2012
    This movie is awesome, that's all I have to say! The music, the costumes the scenery it's all amazingly well done and well chosen! Madonna proved that she's more than an amazing entertainer she's also an awesome director! This movie would have gained a dozen Academy Awards if the people wouldn't be as hateful as they are when they see the name Madonna on it. Expand
  3. Mar 31, 2013
    This film was an ambitious project for its director who as per usual the critics attacked sadly had another person directed this film it would have faired far better, even if it was left untouched, some people appear to be unable to separate a singer from a director an thus wait to attack, this film is not worthy of such an attach,interestingly some critics are now saying that the film will become more of a classic in its time,It is a very enjoyable film, blending two stories into one, in the same way James Cameron did with Titanic, enjoy this film for what it is, an untold love story. Expand
  4. May 3, 2012
    Now director Madonna could easily be, what you say a horrid movie. And, sure it doesn't satisfy people like teenagers and young adults, but it does have a really appropriate story. The camera shot of the film is a genuine and perfect, the film itself is a bit longer as it should be, but with its proceeding films "The King's Speech", "The Iron Lady" and so-and-so, the film is still a good mix of a classic beauty and sometimes.... A complete horror. Collapse
  5. Dec 12, 2012
    What we have is two films here. The one following Edward and Mrs simpson is actually really good, but the other in the modern time following Abbie Cornish is rather more ponderous and unnecessary. Andrea Riseborough is a revelation as Wallis Simpson and the film's costumes and design are lovely. Director Madonna also gives us some interesting camera set ups, which set to the stunning score are very effective. Without doubt the underrated film of 2012. Expand
  6. Apr 27, 2012
    W.E. is one of three biopics I have seen this year, after The Iron Lady and J Edgar. Of the three I think W.E. is probably the best, but all three tread the path of the mediocre. What W.E. gets right is Wallis Simpson, Riseborough is fantastic in the lead role and has great chemistry with James D'Arcy. The biggest problem with the film is the the second tier of the romance with Abbie Cornish's Wally Winthrop, though the romance picks up momentum around the one hour mark, it slows down the pace of the Wallis Simpson segments.

    The script has high and low notes, the romance at times is reduced sappiness, but these are forgivable even when they are at there worst. What is probably the biggest weakness in W.E. is the often close up hand held camera shots. The occasional one works nicely, but these shots are put in far too often and take you out of the story. In most cases the camera work could have been more simplistic, it too often feels erratic which isn't good in the more tender moments of the film.

    The music in W.E. is beautiful and the addition of "Masterpiece" in the credits is a lovely song to go side by side with the film. However sometimes the music is a little over powering, once again just a case of less is more. The much discussed and derided scene with Wallis dancing the Charleston with a tribesman to The Sex Pistols "pretty Vacant", I really liked. I felt the scene was a good way to show how frivolous the character could be, using the modern day Wally's imagination to keep the scene from feeling alien.

    Undoubtedly the best part of W.E. is the costume and lighting. The attention to detail in this department is incredible. Every costume looks stunning and is meticulously put together down to the nearest diamond, and the lighting makes the landscapes almost feel like paintings it really is stunning.

    All in all W.E. is a great attempt from Madonna to craft a stunning looking film, though the storytelling can be muddled and the film takes around 40 minutes to really get going, its doesn't completely take away from the overall film. Historical inaccuracies put aside would have made this film a 7, but not exploring the Nazi element could have made this so much more interesting. The negative reviews of this film aren't looking at it from fair perspective and anyone with half a brain can see though not amazing, W.E. is at least half decent and for a directors second film pretty damn good.
  7. May 30, 2012
    Conceived and directed by Madonna, W.E. is a gorgeous mess.

See all 13 User Reviews