Late to the game on Spencer, and heard great things. Kristen Stewart has come a long way since Bella Swan and I’m glad she is being recognized for this painfully intense performance as Princess Diana.
When we first see her, we realize she is well past the dream carriage wedding we remember so well. Interestingly this film doesn’t share who they were when they met. How she felt. What she saw in him, why they fell for each other. Where we are now is almost more relatable than the fairy-tale romance of it all. It’s the part they don’t want us to see. “I always take care to close my curtains.”
On one hand, it’s hard to believe anyone surrounded by such wealth and privilege could be so unhappy. On the other hand, it’s so obvious how easy it is. She’s under everyone’s discretion and concern, trying to find a way to be of value beyond confined expectations. Looking for a purpose that speaks to her heart, albeit empty from father’s absence and husband’s disloyalty.
The ritualistic dining is entirely uncomfortable. Cotilion times ten. And the music drones on – with intense staccato strings, like an opera anticipating the murder of the lead antagonist in a dark alley. So much unbearable suspense. I also genuinely thought she ate the pearls from her necklace. So that was weird. But then I caught on and swallowed the symbolism. Existential crisis. “A magnet for madness.”
There’s a dichotomy of being in power and being powerless. This is more intimate, watching her food intake/output. It’s her behavioral response to being unable to control anything that happens to her. Balancing the real person, and the one they photograph. The Queen doubles down: “All you are is currency.“
“Sometimes you get delayed by someone.”
I can imagine Spencer pissed off a lot of Royals. The things Charles is passionate about seem so mindless. His relationship with his children is portrayed as annoyed, impatient and distant, just as it is with her. His adultery is accepted as fact. He’s detached and miserable, but laughs it off while she tries to claim the same. I honestly don’t know if she has smiled yet.
There’s a deep dive into the haunting parallels Diana sees with Anne Boleyn. It’s almost like she knows she’s heading to a demise of their making. She hangs on tight the last few scenes to her boys. I really felt sympathy for her. “Tell them I’m not well.”
She does smile. It happens. There’s a moment of friendship and love that sees as genuine, and she is flattered. Remember that downward glance of a smile that she is known for? It’s there finally. But overall, Spencer just seems to say the same thing over and over again, with speculative visions and presumptive flashbacks. Fantastic performance by Stewart.