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W.E. Review

Movies.com Critics

2.5

Dave White Profile

Massive luxury overdose Read full review

3.0

Grae Drake Profile

A Borderline movie Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 2.0
    37

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Generally unfavorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 20

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal John Anderson

    The director's apparent blindness to the epic banality of her subjects suggests that the whole project is one royally misguided mess.

    Read Full Review

  • 42

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    The movie is a folly, a desultory vanity project for its director and co-writer. But for those very reasons, W.E., by world-renowned personage and lesser-known filmmaker Madonna, is not without twisted interest.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    As easy on the eyes and ears as it is embalmed from any dramatic point of view.

    Read Full Review

  • See all W.E. reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

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.

  • 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?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: It's hard to find positive messages in a movie about marital issues, adultery, and obsessive love, but there is one very important take-away: Women shouldn't stay in relationships where they're physically abused.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: The only positive role model is Evgeni, who's helpful and kind to Wally, even though they barely know each other. Despite their legendary romance, it's hard to call Wallis and Edward positive role models, since they have an adulterous affair without regard for Wallis' husband Ernest. Wally's husband William, who's also having an affair, lies to and beats her, while Wally seems too obsessed with the life of Wallis Simpson to change her own until the very end.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: There's a disturbing amount of domestic abuse in the story. Wallis is severely beaten by her first husband; she's kicked so hard that she miscarries (blood is shown pooling around her naked body). Wally's husband also beats her after a fight escalates into physical abuse. Wallis slaps Wally.

  • sex false4

    Sex: The movie opens with a bath scene in which viewers see a character's breasts. A few love scenes show lots of skin, but no additional shots of sensitive body parts. Wallis and Wally often strip down to their bras and panties or chemises.

  • language false4

    Language: Strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "f--king," "bulls--t," and (rarely) "c--t." Insults include "common," "trollop," "adulteress," etc.

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: Luxury brands such as Cartier, Jaguar, Chanel No. 5, Burberry, and Sotheby's, which is one of the movie's main settings.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: In both the '30s and the '90s, the characters chain-smoke cigarettes. Wallis and Edward are rarely seen without a cocktail or champagne in hand, and much is made about her legendary drinks. In one scene, Wallis and Edward drop Benzedrine into champagne and then act high. Evgeni also smokes, and he and Wally have vodka. Several dinner parties have lots of drinking. Wally takes fertility drugs, which she injects herself with throughout most of the movie.

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