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

1 star

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

- blacksheepboy, Wednesday, May 23, 2012

1 star

Besides a stylish and evocative piano number, Madonna's latest directing project falls flat, and hard. With a repetitious and unexplained connection between Abbie Cornish's character and Andrea Riseborough as Wallis Simpson, the film tends to be more about violence towards women and a biographical look at the relationship between King Edward's VIII and Mrs. Simpson than anything emotionally connectable. The film bores to the point of exhaustion and feels too much like a big budget flop.

- xas5, Thursday, May 10, 2012

2 stars

If you were at all interested in the other side of the story that was happening during 2010's best picture winner "The King's Speech" well, now you have the chance to see it play out in director Madonna's beautiful-looking if not slow moving tribute titled "W./E.". The film tells the story of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. How the King of England fell so deeply in love with a twice divorced American woman that he abdicated the throne, his title, and his family to spend his life with her. Pretty crazy right? Madonna, who took on the screenwriting challenge here as well, has made their story a mirror to the more present day life of Wally Winthrop, a young married woman who is obsessed with what she believes to be this ultimate kind of fairy tale love. Needless to say, her marriage is not all chocolates and roses. She begins to research their story and naturally finds out that it isn't all it was made out to be. It is interesting to get the story from the woman's perspective as most historians look to Edward and all that he gave up to be the woman, but the film is right in assuming its position of what made this woman so appealing? What was it about her that made the King literally give up everything? The bad part about the film is that it never really feels like it delves into those details. I enjoy Abbie Cornish and her work, but in all honesty would have rather seen a straightforward biopic if Madonna was going to do their story justice, then go all in. That said, she could have easily done it with Andrea Riseborough as Wallis and James D'Arcy as Edward. they are superb in their roles and the characters they've embodied do indeed deserve their own film. A film that is as exciting and intriguing as there romance, not one as boring and uptight as "W./E.".

- fb1025970122, Wednesday, May 2, 2012