W. E. – Die Romanze des Jahrhunderts (2011)

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W. E. – Die Romanze des Jahrhunderts: Directed by Madonna. With Abbie Cornish, Andrea Riseborough, James D’Arcy, Oscar Isaac. The affair between King Edward VIII and American divorcée Wallis Simpson, and a contemporary romance between a married woman and a Russian security guard.

“u0026quot;W.E.u0026quot; had one hell of an uphill battle. Not only is it a period piece, but the film is also written and directed by the one woman in the world that makes people pass judgement before even experiencing her work. That woman is Madonna.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe film tells the tale of the infamously scandalous affair of King Edward VIII (aka David) and Wallis Simpson for whom, in the 1930s, he gave up everything for, even abdicating the throne of England. Being a twice-divorced American, Wallis Simpson was a woman the monarchy would never accept, and because of that, David left everything behind for love. The film concurrently takes us back to 1998 and Wally Winsthrop, a woman who was named after Ms. Simpson by her Wallis-obsessed mother and who also finds herself in a marriage that is not living up to the magic she expected it to be, a fact which is brought more to life by the flirtations of a Russian security guard she encounters at an auction of the Windsor Estate at Sothebyu0026#39;s.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eI can honestly say that, despite being an enormous fan of most of Madonnau0026#39;s artistic endeavours, I was not sure how this film would play out. But you know what? Itu0026#39;s a good film. First of all, it takes the perspective of Wallis Simpson in telling the first story, which goes against the norm. Secondly, the interweaving of the two completely different time periods is extremely well done, incredibly edited, and manages to keeps you invested in both stories equally. And most surprisingly, it was an entertaining history lesson: Not only do you learn of this hugely publicized affair but the film, in a way, is almost like a prequel to last yearu0026#39;s powerhouse, u0026quot;The Kingu0026#39;s Speech,u0026quot; as that film focuses on Bertie, Davidu0026#39;s brother, who had to take over the throne once David renounced it.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe film is not perfect, but as Madonnau0026#39;s second attempt at directing, you have to give her credit. Something many critics just refuse to do. No, the script is far from genius, but itu0026#39;s far from awful. The film is visually beautiful to watch and the integration of regular filming and documentary-style graininess makes for an interesting watch. Then there is the exquisite costumes for which this film is nominated for an Academy Award…and has a good chance at winning. And the performances, all of which are good. Andrea Risborough (u0026quot;Made in Dagenham,u0026quot; u0026quot;Happy Go Luckyu0026quot;) gives a strong turn, if not slightly off kilter at times, as Wallis Simpson. James Du0026#39;Arcy is at times whimsical yet stoic as the terribly handsome King Edward. Abbie Cornish (u0026quot;Limitlessu0026quot;) is close to heartbreaking as the suffering Wally Winthrop and Richard Coyle (u0026quot;Prince of Persiau0026quot;) gives a great performance as Wallyu0026#39;s emotionally absent husband. And then there is Oscar Isaac, also in the Oscar-nominated u0026quot;Drive,u0026quot; as the incredibly handsome and sweet Russian who perks up each time Wally is around.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eNo, u0026quot;W.E.u0026quot; is not brilliant, but itu0026#39;s far better than you might expect, Madonna proving to be a far better director than anyone might give her credit for. And if you just love her for her music, the Golden-Globe winning u0026quot;Masterpieceu0026quot; plays along the closing credits. Although I have always preferred her musical endeavours over her cinematic attempts, this attempt is one she can definitely be proud of.”


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