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Spencer - Movie Review

Spencer

“A fable from a true tragedy.”

From the moment Spencer opens with these words, any preconceived notions that the audience has about sitting down for a conventional biopic is completely thrown out the window. Instead, director Pablo Larraín and writer Steven Knight place us right inside the aching mind of Diana, herself (Kristen Stewart) as she struggles to get through the annual Christmas festivities at the Queen's Sandringham Estate with the rest of the royal family.

"beautifully crafted and an absolute gift to watch"


The film is not only psychological and deeply evocative, but even stretches to wonderfully implement some grammar seen in horror films. Being that it is gorgeous, haunting, and at times heartwarming, Spencer shows Larraín, Stewart, and cinematographer Claire Mathon all at their best as they bring this ghost story to life.

It’s Christmas holiday of December 1991. Diana just has a get through three days with the royal family, but the estate and the people are all but warm and inviting to her. Being locked in and constantly observed by virtually everyone surrounding her, all Diana wishes to do is to go home. Her real home. The home she knew before the glamour and scandal of the royal family life. In the midst of her undesirable circumstances, perhaps Diana can still salvage at least a tiny piece of who she used to be. Or perhaps she will succumb to the dark urges, visions, and fantasies that reoccur throughout her less-than-pleasant visit.Spencer

So, chances are you have already seen a headline or another review raving about Stewart’s performance. Well, I am here to tell you: believe the hype! Stewart is absolutely phenomenal in this film. Accent and all, Stewart completely embodies the late Princess of Wales, giving a gut-wrenching, raw, and emotionally visceral performance that is surely to land her a nomination, if not the win for Best Leading Actress at the Academy Awards. (I say, just give her the award now). She carries the entire film on her back in such a beautifully exhausting way. It is, without a doubt, the best performance of her career.

The film is darkly magical. It employs elements of surrealism and fantasy as we experience Diana’s harmful and violent visions, completely in-tune with her psyche. The cinematography and the score both perfectly accentuate this dark, fantastical mood. Mathon sets the scene with photography that is both painting-like beautiful, but is also fittingly gloomy. The score by Jonny Greenwood is surprisingly jazzy at multiple points, but it somehow mixes into the movie perfectly, adding to the mystery and the tension of the film. 

All in all, Spencer will surprise and blow your mind in many ways. It is not a from-life-to-death or rags-to-riches biopic that we have now seen countless time. Larraín has completely put his unique spin on the genre with a film that could easily be considered a psychological thriller at many points. Overall, it is beautifully crafted and an absolute gift to watch. You do not want to miss this film.

Spencer is now playing in theaters.

5/5 stars

 

Film Details

Spencer

MPAA Rating: Rated R for some language.
Runtime:
117 mins
Director
: Pablo Larraín
Writer:
Steven Knight
Cast:
Kristen Stewart; Timothy Spall; Jack Nielen
Genre
: Drama | Biography
Tagline:

Memorable Movie Quote: "Will they kill me, do you think?"
Theatrical Distributor:
Endeavor Content
Official Site: https://neonrated.com/films/spencer
Release Date:
November 5, 2021.
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: During her Christmas holidays with the royal family at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England, Diana decides to leave her marriage to Prince Charles.

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Spencer

 

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