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W.E. - Film Review

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Taken from Kyle's Entertainment Reviews Blog here.

W.E. marks music sensation Madonna's second directorial debut. But while Madonna's artistic creativity is evident, the execution of the film's plot lacks coherency.

The film's lackluster screenplay was co-written by Madonna with Alek Keshishian, which tells the story of two women, one in 1998 New York City and the other, Wallis Simpson(Andrea Riseborough) who in the early 1900s was in a controversial relationship with King Edward VIII(James D'Arcy). Madonna's attempt at creating a parallel between the modern love story with its 1930 counterpart was what hurt the film's final product the most, making the two story's connection feel almost forced.

What the film does excel in however, its is artistic beauty. The cinematography, done by Hagen Bogdanski was breathtaking, and the costumes, especially those worn by the Duchess was absolutely stunning. With high-end designers like Christian Dior and Cartier recreating pieces from the period for the film, it is no doubt that the garments used were of great historical accuracy and beauty.

The cast, minus Abby Cornish as Wally Winthrop, was also impeccable. Andrea Riseborough as the delicate Wallis Simpson was well acted, and is one of the highlights of the film. James D'Arcy also gives a notable performance as King Edward VIII. The weak link in the acting comes shockingly in Abby Cornish's portrayal of Wally Winthrop, the lovesick hopeless romantic living in a loveless marriage in 1998 New York. Cornish's character was suppose to be a delicate damsel, fragile, yet determined to spark love in her marriage with husband William(Richard Coyle), but Cornish acting and tone exudes a woman with more strength and rebellion within her.

The film's score, composed by Abel Korzeniowski was dazzling, but the overuse of music from scene to scene often made the movie feel more like one long music video rather than a feature film.

While Madonna's second attempt at sitting in the director's chair wasn't a complete failure, it isn't something to celebrate about either. While her artistry is most definitely there, her final product lacks a clear direction. Further, the film's two interwoven plots could very well have been separated into two distinct movies, and if done so W.E. would have been a much better film. In fact, had Madonna solely focused on the story of Wallis(Riseborough) and Edward(D'Arcy), this this film would have soared. When asked at the end of the film what she wants her audience to take away from this movie, Madonna takes a long pause and hesitates before she responds. Maybe even the Material Girl herself was too caught up in the historical romance and gorgeous fashion that she forgot that a gratifying plot is vital in creating a good movie.

W.E. will be released December 9, 2011 in theatres.


By Kyle

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