W.E. (stylized as W./E.) is a 2011 British romantic drama film co-written and directed by Madonna. It stars Abbie Cornish, Andrea Riseborough, Oscar Isaac, Richard Coyle, and James D'Arcy. The screenplay was co-written by Alek Keshishian, who previously worked with Madonna on her 1991 documentary Truth or Dare and two of her music videos. The film was panned by critics and a box office bomb, returning only a small fraction of its budget in box office revenue.
The film tells the story of two women separated by more than six decades. In 1998, lonely New Yorker Wally Winthrop is obsessed with King Edward's VIII's abdication of the British throne for the woman he loved, American divorcée Wallis Simpson. But Wally's research, including several visits to the Sotheby's auction of the Windsor Estate, reveals that the couple's life together was not as perfect as she thought. Weaving back and forth in time, W.E. intertwines Wally's journey of discovery in New York with the story of Wallis and Edward, from the early days of their romance to the unraveling of their lives in the decades that followed.
Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) is a lonely housewife, living in 1998 in New York City. She is neglected by her doctor husband, William Winthrop (Richard Coyle) and finds solace in the love story of King Edward VIII (James D'Arcy) and his lover, Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough). Wally travels to the Sotheby's auction of the Windsor Estate, showcasing items used by Wallis and Edward in their lifetime, and reminisces about their relationship.