Box art for W.E.


drama, romance

Madonna's beautifully crafted film tells the story of a lonely New Yorker who begins to explore the ultimate love story: King Edward VIII's abdication of the throne for the woman he loved.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
2 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Positive messages
1 out of 5
Positive role models
1 out of 5
4 out of 5
3 out of 5

Madonna directs mature, uneven drama; some domestic abuse.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Madonna's directorial debut tackles some mature issues that aren't appropriate for younger teens. There's considerable marital abuse; the two main female characters both have husbands who strike them viciously, and in one case the physical abuse leads to a bloody miscarriage. There's nearly full-frontal nudity in a brief bath scene, plus several love scenes (though no additional graphic nudity) and shots of the two main actresses wearing only underwear/lingerie. Strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," and "c--t." Despite W.E.'s adult themes, it does have one important message: Never stay in an abusive relationship.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about how W.E. addresses the classic theme of star-crossed lovers. How are both couples not initially a good match? What keeps them together? Can you think of other movie couples that stay together despite the odds against them?
  • Why does the movie gloss over possible negative aspects of Wallis and Edward's relationship? How does this portrayal compare to how they're depicted in The King's Speech? Are there any similarities between the two movies? Which characters are depicted consistently between the two films?
  • How do the relationships in this movie compare to others you've seen in movies and TV shows? What messages do you see in how the media depicts romantic relationships?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 0
    see all W.E. reviews
  • Audience


Audience Reviews

3 stars

I was expecting much worse on this honestly. Sure it is overly long, a tad contrived, and the two stories never really seem to gel in a meaningful way but its surprisingly entertaining, well shot, and admirable in its attempt to tell the story of Wallis and Edward in a less than straightforward way. I welcome more films from Madonna if this is her first shot out the box.

- fb5320086, Wednesday, June 6, 2012

3 stars

It took me a little bit not to be confused by the beginning of this movie because I didn't know they were going to have parallel stories, one starting in the 20's and one in 1998. Directed by Madonna, this was different and slow moving but a fantastically acted story about King Edward's abdication of the throne to be with his lover Wallis Simpson, along with the story of a woman in 1998 obsessed with this famous love story.

- moviegirl50, Tuesday, March 12, 2013

2 stars

Ok, so "W./E." wasn't as dreadful as I was expecting to be. That said, it wasn't "good" either. It had two saving graces that kept the movie afloat -- Andrea Riseborough, and the set designers. Riseborough was intriguing throughout, and couldn't've done much more with what she was given. And, regarding the sets -- and the visuals in general -- pretty, pretty, pretty. Negative: Too much 1990s and too little 1930s... aka, Too much Wally Winthrop and too little Wallis Simpson. Negative: Too long. Negative: Infantile dialogue, and a lack of much subtlety or nuance. (Not Ms. Ciccone's fortes, alas.) Negative: The portrayal of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon as conniving, merciless, and power hungry. (I mean, wasn't the point of this movie to do away with demonizing characterizations in general?) Negative: The portrayal of Edward VIII as some heroic romantic. (Hardly.) The flip side of that, though -- and a positive -- is that the movie *didn't* go out of its way to portray Wallis as heroic or romantic, as I feared they would. Strong, yes. Bright, yes. Role-model? Eh, not really. I think *most* of y'all would be just as well to skip this one. However, the aesthetes amongst you will probably find it hard to stay away, regardless of whatever I might say.

- fb618639746, Thursday, February 23, 2012