Review: Spencer (2021)


Release Date: November 5, 2021

Run Time: 1 hour & 57 minutes

Reviewed By: Edwina

The marriage between Princess Diana (Kristen Stewart) and Prince Charles (Jack Farthing) has long since grown cold. Though rumors of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at the queen’s estate. There’s eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana knows the game, but this year, things will be profoundly different.

I have always found the Royal Family fascinating and especially Princess Diana. I heard Kristin Stewart on a Howard Stern interview promoting this movie and I immediately became intrigued. The story takes place over the course of three days. Christmas Eve, Christmas, and Boxing Day (December 26th, which is primarily a British tradition) with Princess Diana as the main focus.

It’s immediately clear that things aren’t going well with the marriage. Princess Diana arrives alone at the Palace after the rest of the family is already there (including Charles and the boys). The first thing she has to do upon arrival is “weigh in.” Literally sit on a seat that calculates weight and it’s recorded. Apparently this is a tradition that was started by a former king and all guests must participate. The “goal” is to gain three pounds during your holiday stay, which will prove that you had a grand time. Of course, we’ve all heard of Diana’s issue with bulimia and this creates such anxiety and sadness for her. Throughout the film, we see her struggle with this terrible eating disorder. At one point, even gorging herself on desserts and continuously vomiting. The point that’s well taken, is that the Royals know Diana is having trouble and really try to turn their heads to it. The more they ignore her, the more she acts out. Swirling down the tunnel of self-destruction. She is tired of being told what to do, how to act, and what to wear. Her clothes are even delivered, marked with each event and seating, and she must wear the chosen outfit. At one point, one of her appointed staff, who has become a confidante, tells Diana, “I don’t think you need a doctor. I think you need love.” Of course, Charles goes out of his way to look down on her and ignore her the entire holiday. Even having the audacity to give Diana the same gift that he gave his mistress… pearls. The inner meanings of the pearls and scenes surrounding them are an attempt to see how Diana is trying to deal with the affair.

Anne Bolelyn appears to her throughout the weekend in dreams. Anne was the second wife of King Henry and was ultimately beheaded. Anne makes attempts to bond with Diana and give her guidance with reference to the issue of the affairs (a bit much for me). Ultimately, at the end of the weekend, after much drama on Boxing Day, Diana pulls her boys from the hunting excursion while risking her life.

I loved Kristin Stewart’s portrayal. She really was dead on. Between the walk, the downward look of her eyes, and her overall appearance. Lady Diana was 5’10” and Kristin Stewart is 5’5″ so whatever the filmographers did, it worked! Kristin looked just as tall and regal as the Princess herself. 

I have to be honest, I had trouble with all the accents. Maybe they were dead on, but I have nothing to compare it to. I had real trouble understanding the words. 

I loved how Diana’s relationship with her boys was presented in such a real and positive way. Even though she was troubled (both boys were aware, although William was a little more so, being the older son), her children loved her deeply. Ultimately, in the end, Charles tells them both to go to her and for William to, “try to help her.”  I wonder now if part of the struggles of William and Harry are that they were given a very grown up responsibility at such a young age and now their mother is gone…

Love Diana, love the story, but too much was in the mysteries of the underlying scenes trying to connect to Diana as a child. Kristin Stewart, however, was a solid 10 out of 10! Very deserving of some sort of award.

W2B Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

Post Credits Scene: No

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