‘Spencer’ Review

Kristen Stewart disappears as Princess Diana, giving us her finest performance to date. A haunting and chilling character study that promises to be one of the best movies of 2021.

During her Christmas holidays with the royal family at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England, Diana decides to leave her marriage to Prince Charles.

Being famous is tough, being Princess Diana was a whole other story. Spencer dives deep into the psyche of what it was like to live this kind of lifestyle and the immense pressure that comes with it. This movie can make you feel uncomfortable at times, mainly due to the amount of tension in the air, making you feel like you’re walking on glass for 2 hours. The story takes place during a three day stretch, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, as we see a Royal Family gathering that makes Diana a little uneasy to say the least.

For 2 hours we sit and watch Diana slip further away, realizing this life isn’t for her anymore and more importantly not for her sons. Being watched constantly, she is starting to feel the weight of the world and is growing tired of this lifestyle. She’s drifting apart from her husband and is becoming aware that this sort of life isn’t meant for her. Director Pablo Larrain is able to beautifully capture all of this. The use of the score, which is chilling, haunting and makes every scene seem so tense. Everyone in the movie and in the audience is on pins and needles, it’s like watching a dormant volcano bubbling at the surface, waiting to erupt. Pairing this with stunning set design, cinematography and costume design, this movie is all around magnificent.

Lets be clear, this movie belongs to Kristen Stewart and her alone. Basically in every single scene, she transforms into Princess Diana and it is a marvellous and poetic performance. She’s a shoe in for an Oscar nomination and I would be shocked if she doesn’t walk away with a lot of gold come awards season. Her performance is quiet yet powerful, she’s loud but never manages to raise her voice. You are waiting the entire film for this woman to erupt, to scream, to do something, and it never happens. She acts out, whether it’s cutting herself, saying ridiculous things to the staff, or leaving every dinner to go regurgitate whatever food she had managed to get down, but she never fully breaks. Watching her breaking down is draining, because you are rooting for her all while realizing what tragedy awaits this woman in her future.

Some striking and colourful images and outfits really help capture certain moments of the film, with one scene in particular that takes place around candlelight that will surely be the Oscar reel for this film. It’s heartbreaking to watch and I’m sure Diana’s sons William and Harry would think the same thing. Diana just wanted to be herself, while everyone around her was telling her that she had to be two different people, after a while that can beat anyone to the ground.

You feel exhausted by the end of the film simply because of Stewarts performance. This is the story of the lead up to her and Charles divorce, and you can see why this life wasn’t meant for her. The score really plays such a vital and important role in the movie because it sucks you into every scene. Some parts feel very Joker-ish while others reminded me of The Shinning. The score just makes it feel like such a thriller that something terrible could happen at any moment, I haven’t really felt that in a movie in a long time.

This is just a beautiful movie that makes you feel all sorts of emotions. Oscar nominations in bound for sure. This reminds me of The Favourite from 2019, about ten nominations and a lock for Best Actress. I really enjoyed this and I’m looking forward to watching it again.

Spencer = 84/100

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