About Spencer: During her Christmas holidays with the royal family at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England, Diana (Kristen Stewart) decides to leave her marriage to Prince Charles.

Starring: Kristen Stewart; Timothy Spall; Jack Farthing; Sean Harris; Sally Hawkins

Directed by: Pablo Larrain

Ro’s Review:

It’s the late afternoon, eating at your local diner, maybe a slice of cherry pie before hitting the road again. The door dings its ring, indicating another potential customer. Oh, it’s Princess Diana. IT’S PRINCESS DIANA.

Beautifully shot, mesmerizing score, grainy color palette, Spencer’s opening 10 minute sequence is Impeccably immersive, enough to set the tone and buckle up for incoming turmoil. 

If this is your first experience with Pablo Larrain’s filmography like myself, Spencer should be the starting point in the upcoming obsession and appreciation for Larrain’s work, while making plans to see Jackie and Ema.

What Larrain does best is create an environment for its audiences that make us feel like a fly on the wall. The environment is cold (turn up the heat!), sad, psychologically draining, and empathetic. But most importantly Spencer is exactly what it disclaims to be right at the beginning: a fable of tragedy. Therefore, it becomes experimental and bold in its storytelling. No one will ever be familiar with a high-status lifestyle unless they are said to be a high-status person. Spencer is taking information and playing around with “what could have been” or even “what should have been.” The film could feel repetitive but that is exactly what personal tragedy can be. All the misfortune happening in our lives, whether that be eating disorders, affairs, or depression, becomes an endless cycle we feel one can never escape. Larrain plays with time, as seen with Anne Boleyn’s historical significance, and the power of the mind, where in parts of the film, we feel we are slipping into Diana’s subconscious and her deep thoughts. Technical and abstract come together to make Spencer a cinematic experience. And of course, all this is elevated by Kristen Stewart’s performance and dedication in becoming Princess Diana. 

If we scratch movies down to its core, they are for entertainment but there’s more beneath the surface. In the umbrella-term of movies,” sometimes, certain films are described as “unaccessible,” that may not be approachable to everyone. As a result, the move creates a divide between audiences. This is Spencer currently, but may you set previous beliefs aside, practice open-mindedness, and squeeze in to see Spencer this weekend. 

Spencer is now playing in theaters.

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