Spencer (2021) Film Review

Director: Pablo Larraín

Writer: Steven Knight

Stars: Kristen Stewart, Timothy Spall, Jack Nielen

RATING: 4 Stars

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During her Christmas holidays with the royal family at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England, Diana Spencer, struggling with mental health problems, decides to end her decade-long marriage to Prince Charles. – From IMDB

I’m a little ashamed to admit that for the longest time I have been one of those people that looked down on Kristen Stewart’s acting ability. Those appalling performances of her younger career are clearly seared into my mind with a hot iron. But I am so happy, and surprised to say that this film might be the one that changes my mind about her. And if she is given the right role, and some decent writing, she can pull out of the bag, something that is truly breathtaking in terms of a performance.

She manages to give a really heartfelt performance, showing a side of the Princess that only recently have people felt comfortable putting to screen. The best part of the performance are the small moments. The little nuances that say so much more than any dialogue could. A look or a slight change of expression, and the whole mood of the scene could change. People that worked closely with Diana have said how well Stewart portrays her likeness and body language, and that goes to show how well she is doing.

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I won’t say that the whole film is to my liking, because that isn’t true. I wasn’t a big fan of the magical realism type aspects to it. The way they blended fantasy and reality was quite jarring to me and while it did the job of getting across how living the way she was, was impacting her mental, and physical health, it was always a little disjointed.

There is some stunning cinematography going on in this film as well. I might not always have been as engaged as I wanted to be, I did think it felt a little long, but stunning shot after stunning shot always pulled me back.

An excellent film overall, and one that is sure to earn Stewart at least an Oscar nomination, if not a win. If you are on the fence about this film, I would highly recommend it.

‘Spencer is showing in UK cinemas now.

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