Spencer

Spencer ★★★½

Spencer is another one of last year’s “awardsy” films that I wanted to catch before the Oscars in a couple weeks. I had high hopes for this after constantly hearing about Kristen Stewart’s amazing lead performance, but thankfully I left with most of my expectations met. 

Right off the bat, before I get into anything else, I can confirm that Kristen Stewart was indeed Oscar-worthy here. All the acting was top-tier, including underrated performances from Sally Hawkins, Sean Harris, and quite a few others, but Stewart was easily the standout. Her wide range of emotions throughout her psychological journey were extremely impressive to say the least. 

As great as the performances were, the film actually had lots more to praise. For one, the cinematography was absolutely gorgeous (and no, not just because it had a unique aspect ratio!). It’s no easy feat to effectively convey emotion through something as mechanical as the framing of a shot, but in all honesty, I found it very powerful. 

As per most period-pieces, things like the production design, costumes and makeup were all quite visually appealing, too. In addition, Jonny Greenwood’s score was yet another standout for me. To save you some time, I’ll basically just admit that all the technical and production-related aspects did exactly what they needed to do. Everyone was clearly on the same page when crafting this film. 

The movie had a very strong narrative that I feel lots of people can connect with, despite literally being about someone in royalty. As far as I can tell, the pressure and anxiety that comes from fame and fortune was very effectively portrayed, particularly in the second half where things started to get a little more intense. However, it’s actually for this reason that I personally struggled a bit to get invested at first. 

I can acknowledge the remarkable craftsmanship that went into making this movie, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bored for the first act of the film. It started out very dialogue-heavy, with not a lot to relate to, but thankfully it went out on a high note as I was able to find myself pretty engaged in Diana Spencer’s character arc as things moved along. All I’m saying was it took a bit for the movie to find its footing, but once it did, I was able to connect to it on an emotional level instead of just appreciating it for production value.

Spencer is a movie that requires your patience, but it proved to be a pretty rewarding experience once you let it. While it may not be one I’ll be in any rush to rewatch, I’m very happy I got to see it at last and appreciate it for most of the same reasons as everyone else.

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