W.E. - A Film by Madonna
Released on blu-ray & DVD June 2012
To summarise the film into two words, I 'd describe this film as 'elegantly beautiful'
The film is split into two stories that are woven together through time and objects, the first a modern day setting showing an un-happy marriage of Wally, a woman in her late 20's desperately yearning for the love of her husband and the want for a baby. Then we have the story of Wallace and Edward, their meeting, their journey together of falling in love and his abdication of the throne.
Wallace, is an American woman who the future King of England fell for and then walked away from the throne, as their relationship would not have been allowed to continue had he fulfilled his destiny and become King of England.
Watching the film I really felt the unhappiness of Wally, the Manhattan wife of a psychiatrist who spends more time with his patients than at home, she is not allowed to work and as yet the baby she yearns for he does not want, yet keeps her in the confines of a very stylish apartment. Her style reminded me very much of one or two of the characters from the Sex and the City movies, her outfits, her poise and grace. This character is married from the start and their love and friendship seems to be missing, her character is almost in a constant fantasy, daydreaming of romance and daydreaming of Wallace & Edward due to Wallace's possessions being in auction and the auction house being the place that our modern girl visits daily.
The film does flick back and forth quite often to images of Wallace & Edward and unless you've read about them or know who some of the other characters maybe you could get lost as to who you are watching, but keep up with it and you'll be fine. Every so often thoughts of 'Evita' flashed into my mind while I was watching this, as well as Andrea Risborough who plays Wallace on several occasions made me even think of Madonna herself, both are 'fine boned' and of similar size and shape body, I could even see Madonna in this character's shoes.
After seeing Madonna give various interviews about the film it would be hard not to notice the level of detail in everything on the screen, the dresses, the shoes, the jewels and the camera often closes in on such objects, as well as various close ups of several characters while they smoke or a tear drops from their eye. This I liked, there was one filming technique I noticed, I don't know the name of, but the shot closes in on a character then almost becomes a slight blur just as fast as returning to normal, I noticed this a few times.
Technical bits aside, and onto the acting. Modern Wally (Abbie Cornish) played unhappiness with perfection, very quiet, very solemn and it was nice to see her character smile when she bid on the gloves!!! I really liked the Russian security guard, played by Oscar Isaac, his character; Evgeni, was given a few witty lines which made me chuckle and a flash of his rear was an added bonus to proceedings. Andrea Risborough (Wallace) played her character with elegance, every move, every glance, I really enjoyed watching her, it was a take on Eva Peron I'm sure of it. James D'Arcy who plays Edward, very believable but maybe a little forgetful, although one my favourite scenes was the speech being broadcast around the world, a very powerful scene full of emotion, you could feel the people of Britain pressed up against their radios listening in shock as to what was being said.
The score to the film was fantastic, a couple of times I felt my eyes glaze over and this was due in part to the score rather than what I was watching, the actors brought about the emotion, their characters set the scene and a very beautiful score delivered feeling. I thought there were many occasions throughout the film where there wasn't even any dialogue and just simply the score was playing, sometimes you were hearing a characters thoughts, this I felt made the film very subtle in action, but this was quite beautiful.
I will say I thought the first 'party' where Wallace & Edward met felt a bit false, their dancing almost didn't match the music. I also expected the pain and loneliness of modern Wally to really fill me up and make me blubber but I didn't, not because she wasn't believable but perhaps her scenes were too short to really drive home her solitude. I felt more emotion from her the second time I watched the movie. My only other moan would be that when Queen Mary came on screen, I looked at her and didn't instantly recognise her as the Queen. She effectively was just a woman in a dress. But hey we all have our own interpretations of what someone should look like.
I was really looking forward to watching this film, and sometimes high expectations can lead to disappointment but I have to say this film delivered for me. A real nice moment came at the very end when Madonna's name appeared on the screen, I felt pride. (you can stop laughing at me now) and it was wonderful to hear 'Masterpiece' closing out the credits. A genuine honest film about love, un-happiness, solitude and friendship. Thank you Madonna, it was well worth the wait and I'll be watching it again as soon as I can.