Spencer (2021), Dir Pablo Larrain : Dana Archer 4****

Director Pablo Larrain

Run time 111 minutes

Neon, Topic Studios and STX Films

Certificate 12A

Rating 4****

Starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana, this film takes place over three days. This film is only getting a limited release therefore was quite difficult to find a showing, nevertheless I was vigilant and managed to find one and I’m so glad I did. This film is raw and unapologetic. The film opens with a line “A Fable based on a true tragedy”

We see the traditions held in the Royal household at Christmas such as being weighed on entry and departure to assure the guests have put on 3 pounds, these are “A bit of fun” as Timothy Spall’s strict guardsman says. Diana is treated as a child, she is belittled and broken as her mental stability is chipped away at. I knew very little about Diana besides her tragic death, but this film highlights her struggles with mental health, self-harm and eating disorder. I found this an uncomfortable watch and one that is beautifully shot to assert a misty melancholia. I believe this film perhaps exaggerates some instances but fear that most of it is true.

I’m not sure why this film is being released only in a few cinemas, but if you get a chance I recommend it. There is little scathing or abuse thrown at the royals in this, instead they are seen as players in a game of currency and this coldness is staggering and upsetting. Instead, this is a story about a mother. Kristen Stewart is excellent as Diana, from her accent to her mannerisms, there is a point where you are no longer watching Stewart but instead Diana speaking through her. Haunting, sublime and upsetting.

Cast

Kristen Stewart as Diana, Princess of Wales (née Spencer)

Timothy Spall as Equerry Major Alistair Gregory (based on David Walker)

Jack Farthing as Charles, Prince of Wales

Sean Harris as Darren McGrady, the Royal Head Chef

Sally Hawkins as Maggie, the Royal Dresser

Jack Nielen as Prince William

Freddie Spry as Prince Harry

Stella Gonet as Queen Elizabeth II

Richard Sammel as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Olga Hellsing as Sarah, Duchess of York

Thomas Douglas as John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer

Mathias Wolkowski as Prince Edward

Oriana Gordon as Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones

Amy Manson as Anne Boleyn

Ryan Wichert as Staff Sergeant Wood

John Keogh as Michael

Niklas Kohrt as Prince Andrew, Duke of York

Elizabeth Berrington as Anne, Princess Royal

 

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