A 1990s New Yorker finds herself obsessed with the love story between Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough) and King Edward VIII (James D'Arcy) in this drama directed by Madonna. Unhappily married Wally (Abbie Cornish) is fascinated by the life of Simpson, the American divorcee Edward VIII gave up the English throne for. While visiting a Sotheby's auction of the Windsor's estate, Wally realises that the couple's life together was not all sweetness and light. However, she also learns of the sacrifices Wallis was prepared to make for the man she loved, which gives her renewed strength to choose her own destiny. Journeying between the past and present, the film contrasts and compares Wally's modern day journey with the story of the Windsors, from their early days in the spotlight, to their later years of isolation.
Madonna presents a passionate tale of the search for love and the meaning of happiness in W.E., a rich portrayal of two strong women resolved to find romance. Caught in a loveless Manhattan marriage, abused and frustrated Wally (Abbie Cornish – Limitless, Bright Star) obsesses over Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough – Brighton Rock, Made in Dagenham), the stylish American divorcee who captured the heart of Edward VIII (James D’Arcy) who abdicated the throne as King of England. As the Duchess of Windsor, Wallis spends the rest of her life in the glare of celebrity exile. Inspired by the Duchess’ determination to pursue love in the face of social exile, Wally escapes into the arms of another man (Oscar Isaac - Drive) whose love sets her free.