Spencer ★★★★★

Well here, there is only one tense. There is no future. The past and the present are the same thing.

I was in my third week of post-surgery recovery when Spencer, a film I was truly overwhelmed with anticipation for (see: favorite actress portraying *the* people's princess), finally opened. I was already so far behind on new theatrical releases I'd been looking forward to, with three more weeks until I could physically sit in a multiplex again; by the time that merciful relief rolled around, starting with those that'd be leaving first seemed obvious (naturally, I only found time to cross one of them off my list back then 😔).

Now, almost five weeks after *that*, Omicron panic in the city has made outings to the cinema feel much dicier than before (at least, in my humble opinion, until they add spacers between every group again [which I'd really just prefer in general?]). As such, I got off my high horse and decided that finally screening Pablo's latest at home would be fine. And, boy, was that the understatement of the century.

This, for me, is transcendent cinema. There isn't a single thing I couldn't or wouldn't heap mountains of praise upon: Larraín's devastatingly tender, protective eye; Knight's script, crackling with wit and light and Gothic terror; Mathon's unimpeachable photography, jaw-dropping in its vérité beauty; Greenwood's masterful, freewheeling score, capable of taking one's breath via either a swoon or full-fledged anxiety attack; Durran's note-perfect costuming; Dyas & Zolan's staggering production design; Sepúlveda's propulsive editing; the entire ensemble, Hawkins (especially) and Spall and Nielen and Spry and Farthing and Manson and Gonet (among others), stunningly supporting their (*the*, really) leading lady...I could go on ad nauseam, if given the opportunity.

I've loved Kristen Stewart for just shy of two decades now, singing her praises over and over again in the face of those who would unfairly malign her for, y'know, portraying a young adult series character the way said character was written on both novel and script page, ignoring the countless, brilliant pieces of work she'd delivered in its wake. To see this, the pinnacle of her career thus far, after all that time is...I can hardly find the words, honestly.

It's an objective situation we got here, folks: her Diana is one for the ages, one of the best performances ever captured on film. Completely astonishing, gut-wrenching brilliance; every facet, from the accent to the physicality, truly flawless. If she loses the Oscar, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to watch the ceremony in earnest again.

What a pearlescent treasure this is—and to watch it *on* Christmas? Joy to the world indeed.


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