Movie No 2 (2014) : W.E.

W.E.Directed by Madonna and released in 2012, W.E was not a big hit with the critics, although it was nominated for an Oscar – Best Achievement in Costume Design (losing out to Mark Bridges for ‘The Artist’). The film tells two tales; the historical one chronicles the relationship between Edward and Mrs Simpson, whilst the contemporary plot storyline is that of Wally Winthrop, a childless and unhappily married New York society wife. Their stories interconnect at a Sotheby’s auction of Wallis and Edward’s personal effects in 1998. Although I have not checked, I presume that the story told in flashback, of the King’s romance with the highly unsuitable Mrs Simpson, is based upon fact. There are certainly snippets of authentic newsreel, newspaper headlines and Wallis’ own letters.
Whilst the film does have flashes of brilliance, including the aforementioned costumes and period detail, it nevertheless felt clumsy to watch. Jumping back and forth between Wally and Wallis was awkward and stilted, particularly in the odd moments when Wallis appears seated next to Wally in the modern setting. For a film directed by a world-class pop star, the soundtrack is monotonous and borders on the hysterical when Mrs Simpson leaps up from her chair to entertain her party guests to the Sex Pistols classic ‘Pretty Vacant’!
Overall, I didn’t feel as if it was two hours of wasted time and I remain fascinated by the W.E. story, but I think there are probably far more accurate and compelling portrayals of their romance and marriage than this one.