... marry her.
Madonna is arguably one of the most famous women in the world, and in her film W.E. (the title stands for the initials of Wallis and Edward) she attempts to clean up the tarnished image of another famous American woman ÔÇô Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough), twice-divorced American socialite for whom King Edward VIII (James D┬┤Arcy) abdicated in 1936, causing a grave crisis that was unprecedented in British history. Madonna also examines the pain and burden that Wallis┬┤ psyche endured as a result of public hatred after Edward abdicated.
It┬┤s been 77 years since the abdication, and yet the British still tend to depict Simpson unsympathetically; for example, look at the Oscar-winning The King┬┤s Speech). American depictions are usually sweeter-than-sweet romanticised rubbish (1972, The Woman I Love with Faye Dunaway). Simpson has been demonised as a sycophantic social climber, a hermaphrodite, a spy and a sexual gymnast.
To explore Wallis Simpson, Madonna introduces a parallel story which takes place more than sixty years later in 1998 Manhattan. The rich, bored and sad Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) suspects that her husband, philanthropic doctor William (Richard Coyle) who is an alcoholic and physically violent towards his wife (just as Wallis Simpson┬┤s first husband was), is having an affair. Wally is obsessed with Wallis Simpson and what she perceives as the ultimate love story. She spends full days at a pre-auction display of the Duchess of Windsor┬┤s memorabilia at Sotheby┬┤s ÔÇô and attracts the attention of a handsome security guard (Oscar Isaac). Weaving back and forth in time, W.E. intertwines Wally┬┤s journey of discovery in New York with the story of Wallis and Edward the glamorous early days of their romance to the slow unravelling of their lives in the decades that followed. She reads Wallis and Edward┬┤s letters to each other and discovers that Wallis and Edward weren┬┤t quite as romantic a couple as they were portrayed.
We all know that the desire to marry a woman with two living ex-husbands cost the King his throne, but interestingly Madonna asks the question: What did it cost Wallis Simpson? Of course, she became the Duchess of Windsor and lived a life of luxury, but, as Mrs Simpson points out in the film, the King "used me to escape his prison, only to incarcerate me in my own".
Although there are some historical howlers that could have easily been avoided, the film is stylishly shot and is sumptuous to the eye. It┬┤s not surprising that it won an Oscar for Best Costume at the 84th Academy Awards. In the weaving of the stories of two fragile but determined women, Madonna trusts the audience to move from mood to mood, era to era without much explanation or reason. For those of us who are used to the way music videos are edited, this won┬┤t be a problem. In fact, this device is arguably like a breath of fresh air which will probably make the film accessible to younger audiences.
AVIVA Tipp: Madonna┬┤s W.E. is less about a misunderstood historical figure, and more to do with a woman looking to another for inspiration. While the film has major historical and structural flaws, there is something very much of value here. The performances by Abbie Cornish and Andrea Riseborough are memorable. Some scenes are magical and pure genius, although Madonna┬┤s storytelling style and obvious hero-worship of her subject ends up being a bit of a cinematic mixed-bag. Worth seeing!
Executive Producers: Scott Franklin, Donna Gigliotti, Harvey Weinstein, Nigel Wooll
Producers: Madonna, Kris Thykier, Colin Vaines
Original screenplay: Alek Keshishian/Madonna
Main cast: Abbie Cornish, Andrea Riseborough, James D┬┤Arcy, Oscar Isaac, Richard Coyle, David Harbour, James Fox, Judy Parfitt, Haluk Bilginer, Geoffrey Palmer, Natalie Dormer, Laurence Fox
Original music: Abel Korzeniowski
Cinematography: Hagen Bogdanski
Editing: Danny Tull
Distributor: Senator Home Entertainment
Verleih: Senator Home Entertainment
Laufzeit DVD ca. 114. Minuten
Laufzeit BD ca. 119. Minuten
FSK freigegeben ab 12 Jahren
Bestellnummer DVD / BD 88691989789/ 88691989799
EAN-Code DVD / BD 886919897890 /886919897999
Die Features auf einen Blick
Bildformat DVD / BD 2,40:1 (16.9 anamorph) / 2,40:1 (1080p/24)
Tonformat DVD / BD Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Sprache Deutsch, Englisch, Untertitel Deutsch
Bonusmaterial DVD / BD Making of "W.E.", Interview mit Andrea Riseborough
DVD, Blu-ray und VoD release: 9. November 2012
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