Spencer ★★★

"Tell them I'm not well!"

I feel like I just watched the seventh episode of an eight episode miniseries, and didn't get to see the first six episodes or the last episode.

Definitely caters to those already intimately familiar woth the story. As someone only casually familiar, I struggled to connect with it. The washed-out painterly cinematography is very pretty, but kinda contributes to the problem I think? It feels very removed from reality, despite being about real people.

Of course, the other thing is that my passing familiarity is mostly about how the pressures of fame, paparazzi, and the utter lack of privacy that come with being a princess more or less destroyed Diana and led to her death. So here we have a movie to glamorize her fame, issues with paparazzi, and invade her privacy some more. I don't know, it just feels... icky.

Kristen Stewart does a good job with the role (and I don't typically care for her even in her good movies), but there is still an impressionistic style to her performance which the direction, script, music, and again that painterly cinematography all double down on. She doesn't feel like a person in this, but a symbol.

Sure there are elements of humanity -- primarily in Stewart's eyes, which act beautifully beneath the impression on the surface -- but the movie feels primarily interested in placing Diana on the pedestal that she's already been placed on. The emotional core, which does exist, is thus undermined because it assumes you've previously connected with the rest -- hence my "episode seven" comment.

She has a line that as time goes on, each royal is reduced to more and more abstract of an idea. But the film itself doesn't challenge this. It's only interested in this one side of Diana, and it's the same side that the media has already laser-focused on. In such, just like the media who chased her, the film becomes the very thing it seeks to critique.

Still, definitely better than Jackie. (I really hated Jackie. How do you get Natalie Portman to give a bad performance? Ugh.)

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