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
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.
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: 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: 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: Strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "f--king," "bulls--t," and (rarely) "c--t." Insults include "common," "trollop," "adulteress," etc.
Consumerism: Luxury brands such as Cartier, Jaguar, Chanel No. 5, Burberry, and Sotheby's, which is one of the movie's main settings.
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.
Fan Reviews provided by
beautiful and great story by remleno
beautiful movie. good 1st film.... i think madonna will get a hard time because its madonna...but a great story and well filmed. good movie... better then iron lady ..has soem weaker moments but good
W./E. by kipp
A lot better than I thought it would be. Telling the Edward/Simpson story inside another story was a good way to handle it. It gave Madonna the unique opportunity to tell it from the feminist side.
Good choice. Her 2 women stars couldn't have found a better vehicle to showcase their talents. They were both terrific.
I suppose the one downer was the way she fluffed the fascist side of the story. Better to have avoided it altogether than be obligated to tell the official distortions. That was offensive to anyone who knows the true history.
None the less...she made it work...and finally put herself into the ranks of serious film makers.
I will definitely see her next...
Better Than You Think by SpaceKadet2000
This film is better than you think. Very good effort by Madonna and company. Don't believe the critics and go see this film!
Is not about the Royals by ae.aiinehsazian
Hi, This is a movie centered in a woman looking for her identity. I had read some of the reviews before I went. In particular one of a 50+ gentleman who was very annoyed with the movie and ended up going to see another (one that dealt with women passing by men in England in the turn of the century). What this man did not understand is that this movie is about the young 21st century woman not about the 40's couple. Is about what we as women give up for love and is never seen from the our perspective. Usually man is the provider, man is important, man is there for the woman's benefit and comfort. But how about what we give up? Most of the women of my time (and the ones before my time) gave up a career to have children and be with the man they loved. To make 'his life' comfortable, and to encourage 'him' to be successful. What this movie is about is the choice that women have today to have the marriage, the children and the career. Is about how men is adapting to us as we adapt
W.E. by Catsko
If i have seen a worse movie in my 58 years i cannot tell you wat it was....I walked out sneaked over to Albert Nobbs and thank God i did!!! Close is best actor hands down!!
W.E. by rlverson
Mildly entertaining movie with a weak script and some missing motivations for the behavior of the protagonists. Nice look at the dress of the 30s upper class.
Good, not terrific by galifi
Enjoyed the film and it is far better than the critics try to make it appear. I think the critics took our their scalpels because it is Madonna without looking at the merits of the film. Beautifully shot and tells an interesting parallel story between an unraveling love affair in the present day against a growing love affair in the past.
My only complaints are that for a film that is billed as telling the "love story of the century," they needed to show more of the love affair and the building passion. The voice over kept talking about the love they had and the present day protagonist kept talking about the love affair and all they gave up for each other...but when they showed Wallis and Edward, they didn't really show much in terms of passion or love for each other. It is like calling a movie a thriller and referencing that it is a thriller, but not showing anything thrilling. They needed to build it up so it would make sense for him to give up his throne to be with her.
Beautiful cinematography and story.... by SxySpanishStud10
I really enjoyed how Madonna intertwined a modern day story along with the historical tale of one of the most romantic couples of our time. I found the acting to be superb and Andrea Riseborough is a stand out performer. I really can't understand how or why the critics have attacked her, other than it's within their nature to do so. Do not allow the critics to sway you on this film, rise above and decide for yourself, I believe you will be pleasantly surprised.
WE is WON"T by kkleinbe
This is so contrived it is laughable. At first you don't realize that one set of characters are real and one set are fiction. There is alot of back and forth between the eras, these snippets are meant to get us up to speed.
The movie gives you no information or illumination of the life of Wallis and Edward. The "parallel" modern story was not credible and was forced to somehow coincide with the story of Wallis and Edward.
What was all that camera work lingering on initials and other stuff that never went anywhere in the story? Not to mention that shot of the perfect tear! Yikes, how much like college film school can you get?
What on Earth is this movie about? by george.dauphin
In the end, Wallis Simpson (the ghost or fantasy or whatever) and Wallis Winthrop (the fictional character made up by Madonna who has a fixation on the historic Wallis) must part company. And we are all expected to understand why. What the....? Did I miss something? Well, it's very likely that I dosed off and missed something. If this was the greatest love story of all time, it's also the most boring-- in spite of all the New Wave realism camera movements (only one of many, many anachronisms in the movie). Not that I care. Well, maybe I was in a bad mood after having to sit through 25 MINUTES of commercials before the movie started at the Regal Shadowood 16 theater in Boca. THAT'S 25 MINUTES AFTER the scheduled official start time-- that's not counting the commercials before the scheduled start. So I came about 15 minutes early and had to sit thru a grand total of 40 MINUTES of nothing but commercials-- after having paid $10.50 to get in!!!!