Spencer ★★

These two stars I give purely to Kristen Stewart for doing an excellent job with what, in my opinion, was a rather one-dimensional character. The themes Larrain is trying to show us are not lost on any viewer, and I don’t think it’s possible they could be with how blunt and smug they’re treated. Larrain’s Princess Diana is written as a petulant child whose lack of self-awareness is as obvious to her children as it is to us, protected by a thin veil of victimization that seeks to romanticize mental illness and poor behavior. Sure you could rationalize this circular block into the square hole of Larrain’s narrative by saying “but that’s the point,” but that would only seem to be the case if his object was to show that appealing to your inner child absolves you of social responsibility. In my opinion this is far from the reality of the scenario, and for that it loses points.

On their own, the themes have value: the pressure exerted by the royals most definitely had adverse affects on Princess Diana. The imbalance of attention and notoriety was clear. The royal’s sheer lack of touch with reality is readily accessible in our reality. But stringing this all together under a banner of “we’re just currency” gives the entire film the nuance of a clickbait article. And then to top it off, her dress-consultant is in love with her?? Even under the guise of Princess Diana’s acceptance and compassion of LGBTQ+ peoples in the midst of mass HIV misinformation, this scene was as subtle as an air horn in a library. 

Credit: the shots were often well executed and very very cool when done so. The acting was done well. But even in scenarios where a biopic allows for greater artistic liberty enough to label this fanfic a fable, at least stay within the realm of allowing us to suspend our disbelief.

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