When you have a highly successful worldwide music career, millions of pounds worth of money and countless fans that adore your work throughout the world, what do you do? In the case of you being Madonna, you direct a movie. This is her movie and through a captivation of the story it can be seen that Madonna has personal interest in the subject matter, this is made clear throughout.
W.E. is a sweeping and powerful romantic tale of two highly determined, but extremely fragile women. Separated by over six decades this movie tells of Wally Winthrop, a lonely woman in New York who is stuck in a loveless marriage. She seeks refuge in what she believes to be the ultimate fairytale romance, that of King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, a two time divorcee.
Through her own escapism, Wally imagines the life of Wallis to the point of almost obsession. Seeing a complete mirrored scenario in her life Wally researches more into what occurred and finds that what she believes is not necessarily the truth. At all times the audience sees Wallis and Edward's life as Wally imagines it. Therefore, as Wally researches more into the past, the audience is able to learn along with her. It is a highly clever way of film making and in the most parts works well- never are audiences told to much. For the majority you are expected to adjust your believes as the facts are outlined in front of you. 'The Iron Lady' also used a similar technique, but in this film it is seemed to be more needed and way more enjoyable.
For Madonna being who she is, a lot of interest will go into her directing style. What can be said, is that based upon this movie, she is a director that is not shy of showing facts in a fair and easy to understand manner. Her passion for utmost realism throughout allows this film to showcase the narrative in a highly positive and effective manner. The costume design and general styling of scenes is beautiful. The way that the two narratives work alongside each other and never get confusing is also testament to her skill as a first time feature film director. Handling a highly personal English love story, brings pressure in giving the source material life. Luckily Madonna never shows this pressure, and during the duration, never are you to believe that anything shown is not what she wanted placed within her film. As much as you see the story through the two different women, it can also be said that you will witness this narrative as Madonna also did whilst researching into the subject matter.
This film never shied away from controversial matters, with the two extreme cases of domestic violence, and the general feeling that these women garner from others, being so close to the mark that many will find it brave to have had them included. Throughout it is made clear that all fairytales, no matter how recent, are also only tragedies on some level. Parts of this film are made to feel slow and morbid, however never do these segments feel unnecessary to the overall plot, being in place to outline the harshness that these women receive.
Madonna has crafted a very enlightening movie showcasing one of the most known romances ever, in a manner that allows audiences to obtain all of the facts in an easy and effective way. Made obvious from the beginning that this film also outlines the feelings that the film maker had for the subject matter, allows it to become a lot more personal. The cast portray their roles correctly, through this portrayal the audience are allowed to learn the truth. The use of two separate but intertwining story-lines made for a highly interesting way of showcasing the narrative, keeping it fresh and interesting throughout. The dual dynamics of the two leading women, with the mirrored story lines kept the balance correct throughout, never does it feel over the top. The use of realism adds to the scope of this piece, never a masterpiece but never a generic romance film.