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Directed by Madonna

W.E. traces two separate love stories – the first, one of England’s most infamous romances, the second a more contemporary courtship – in a manner that is sweeping, stylish and thrilling in its scope. At the core of this combination period-piece drama and modern romantic fantasy are two fascinating women, their stories separated by several decades. In 1998, married yet lonely New Yorker Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) develops an obsession with the love affair of King Edward VIII (James D’Arcy) and American socialite and divorcée Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough). Their courtship and eventual engagement prompted a constitutional crisis and led to Edward’s abdication of the throne in 1936. Wally is fascinated by Edward and Wallis’ love story, but as she researches their history, she realizes that their life together was far from perfect. Meanwhile it seems that true love, however flawed, may await Wally in the here and now, in the form of a Russian-American security guard (Oscar Isaac). Creating an intricate weave of chronologies, director Madonna shifts between scenes of Wally’s discoveries, both personal and historical, and scenes depicting the relationship between Edward and Wallis, from its inception through the dramatic events that challenge it. Visually, the film is a rush of gorgeous, intimate images, edited into a seductive rhythm. There are shades of Tom Ford and Julian Schnabel here. Like them, Madonna appears to have drawn on the sophisticated, cutting-edge aesthetic strategies she has used in other media to craft something remarkably cinematic. W.E. also benefits from two potent performances. Cornish, having already made such an impression in Jane Campion’s Bright Star, proves the ideal contemporary centrepiece for the film. Riseborough, as Wallis Simpson, is a revelation, displaying vulnerability and bravado, street smarts and emotional depth – winning qualities that mirror those of her director. – Toronto International Film Festival Official Trailer
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Directed by: 
Running Time: 
Abbie Cornish, James D'Arcy, Andrea Riseborough, Oscar Isaac
Screenplay by: 
Madonna, Alex Keshishian

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