Spencer ★★★★

The Sandringham Estate has a horrible quiet to it. The kind of quiet you only find when you’re in a house that’s just too big with too many people you hate, and it’s so quiet you know they’ll hear everything you say or even whisper from three rooms over. Greenwood’s score is soul-rattling, but it’s the drawn out silences that drew me in just to eviscerate me by the Christmas Eve dinner.

Three days is a long time to spend with a family who holds themselves like Royalty is forced to, and we aren’t even given time to know all that came before the cold December days Larrain chose to confine his story to. But we don’t need to, because Strewart’s portrayal carries all that heaviness for us. Her work, in collaboration with every other cinematic tool Larrain and their conspirators utilize, presents an unimaginable burden without forcing the audience to bear the same weight. We can’t possibly do that in just under 2 hours. We can fall into total admiration, maybe even love, with a princess who did struggle with that weight. But Diane was more than just a woman grafted into royalty (or at least Stewart and Larrain’s rendition is, I know very little about the real life Princess Di), her dedication and adoration of her children carried the most striking moments for me.

But once again, so many of those moments were so quiet. A beautiful form of silence.

(regarding silence, I could only experience that IN SPITE OF the multiple groups of people making small talk during the movie, the two phones that kept going off, and homophobic group that loudly walked out for the one queer-affirming scene. It’s a testament to the power cinema that this movie overruled all of them.)

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