James D'Arcy and Andrea Riseborough star in W.E.


Andrea Riseborough, Abbie Cornish

Directed by Madonna
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 1
Community: star rating
5 1 0
February 2, 2012

Madonna directs again! Oh, no! Oh, yes! A hard lesson should have been learned after Filth and Wisdom, but here's Madge one more time doing something for which she is eminently unsuited – directing. Madonna's tenacity deserves praise, unlike anything else in this torturously torpid costume drama, except the costumes which gleam with period elegance. There is an idea here. Madonna and co-screenwriter Alek Keshishian (director of Madonna: Truth or Dare) are telling the true story of Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough, rising above the mud), the American socialite and divorce who King Edward VIII (James D'Arcy) gave up his throne to marry. W.E. stands for Wallis and Edward – get it? In last year's Oscar-winning The King's Speech, Eve Best and Guy Peace took those roles. Not content with going deeper into that bizarre romance, Madonna adds a new wrinkle in the form of a contemporary Manhattanite, Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish), who sees herself in the other Wally, prompting director Madonna to interlace their stories. By the time you realize you don't know what's going on you will have stopped caring. Consider that a mercy. To close the film, Madonna co-wrote a song, "Masterpiece," which won her a Golden Globe award. Elton John and his partner seemed irked by the choice. I'm irked at the title of song. Nothing having to do with W.E. has any right to be called "Masterpiece."

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Road to Nowhere”

    Talking Heads | 1985

    A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

    More Song Stories entries »