top of page


British film by Madonna (and others), about Wallis Simpson and her relationship with Prince Edward the 8th.


Prince Edward, also called David, becomes King of England when his father, King George, dies before his time. Edward (David) gives up the throne a few months later to spend the rest of his life with Wallis.  


The film is also about an American young woman, Wally, who lives in the present day and who is deeply fascinated with Wallis's character and story.

Fabulous acting by Abbie Cornish as Wally Winthrop, Andrea Riseborough as Wallis Simpson, James D'Arcy as Prince Edward. The rest of the cast are also excellent.

Beautifully shot by Hagan Bogdanski, and edited by Danny B. Tull who did an excellent job weaving the 2 time strands together of the present-day story and the story in the past. Great music by Abel Korzeniowski.

Madonna wanted to present the story of Wallis Simpson through a distinct perspective, and so she created the modern character of Wally Winthrop who spends ample time at an exhibition/ auction in New York of many personal belongings of the Prince and his American wife, who spent most of their years together living in Paris.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching this film, which in my estimation, is a high quality film based on an excellent script by Madonna and Alek Keshishian (who did a documentary with Madonna).


The story of Wally gives a fascinating reflection on the story of Wallis. While we more or less know what happened with Wallis, we don't know how it will turn out for Wally, and that keeps the film interesting till the very end.

Madonna gives us a very valid perspective of the character & life of Wallis, largely through the eyes of Wally.


The moments where the 2 ladies connect are magical for me; this kind of meeting-of-the-minds is where the medium of film is so uniquely strong.

Never overdone or sentimental, this film gives a wonderful fresh view point and gives hope.


While Wallis got trapped in a relationship and a situation without a real future, there is hope for Wally even though she is at risk, like many women, of being abused and getting trapped. Wallis wasn't abused by Prince Edward, but she certainly got trapped with him in a more-or-less impossible situation.

There aren't that many films that really grab my attention, because the film is GOOD at the many levels/ layers that a good film operates on: good script-writing, good casting, good locations, good art direction & costumes, good acting, good camera work, good editing, good music - the list is longer still.


For me, this film W./E. was GOOD in all these aspects. I think Madonna did an excellent job, and stuck to her guns, with the vision she had for this film from the beginning.

So when I read some reviews, via Wikipedia, I was horrified to see how negative (some of) the press had been. One journalist even went as far as writing that 'Madonna should never be allowed to direct another film.'

Some one else wishes that 'Madonna will just keep to singing/ performing, and never get behind the camera again.' What are these people trying to say or do?

It seems that in some way, just like Wallis Simpson became the focus of hostility and loathing by the British press (and others), Madonna gets the same from certain people; insulting language thrown at her by people who haven't achieved a fraction of what she has achieved.

Back to the film. Just for the sake of watching a period drama (the parts set in the UK) this film is a delight to the eye. A huge amount of work went into getting all the costumes and jewelry matching exactly what the real characters were waring at the time (mostly the 30s).


Deeply intriguing to see (this version of) the British Royal family at that time, and what an impossible situation it was really for most if not all of them.

Neither Edward nor his younger brother Bertie were equipped to take the throne when their father King George died before his time.

Through the excellent script behind this film, without spelling it all out, the scenes in the royal household made it clear how impossible an environment that was for the 2 princes to really mature.


Such an unreal world, upon which are placed such very high expectations and strange demands. It's a miracle that Bertie managed to become the King that was needed.


W./E. shows how much his wife had to go to help him (almost force him) be a man of his word. Again, this film touched on deep and complex situations without becoming pedantic or over-bearing; for me a sign of high quality script writing and good direction.

All the characters are so very believable and stand so very clear beside or opposite each other; it makes for  excellent story-telling through the medium of film. As said earlier, the moments where Wally gets to interact with Wallis are delightful film-making and offer wonderful insights.

Not to go into detail how the film ends (I don't want to spoil it for you if you haven't seen the film yet), all I need to say here is that for me it worked like quality story rapping-up. All the loose ends were picked-up and put away, and the film came to a clear conclusion (positive/ negative/ undecided? - I won't say). Another sign of good film making, when the story comes to an end, it makes sense, it brings an element of redemption and leaves you with food for thought, not confusion or disappointment.


Well done Madonna; I look forward to seeing your next film!

bottom of page