Ken Suzuki’s review published on Letterboxd:
"I'll be your mom, that's my job"
– Diana Spencer
Spencer is a fictional biopic that is a gorgeous portrayal and a critique of psychological escapism through a fictionalised account of Princess Diana as she struggles with staying with the British royal family and has a mental breakdown as everything about being one of the British royal family seems to be against her will. The film portrays her as a martyr whose misery is not only the result of her declining mental state but a penalty imposed by those in authority over her, which she must bear because she possesses a humanity that few others do.
The performance by Kristen Stewart was impeccable; she got into the character perfectly. The film is quite different from other films about Diana Spencer as it humanizes Diana in such a touching way and shows more of her struggle with mental health problems. With the claustrophobic and haunting script, the film also has some surreal sequences as Dianna hallucinates and sees a hallucination of Anne Boleyn, an innocent Queen of England who was beheaded by her husband, who was intent on moving on to a new wife. Larraín creates an intelligible medium that visually shows the inner struggle and fear of Diana. Visions of Anne Boleyn haunt the lovely princess imprisoned in her husband's royal family's home, shot through a wintery fog that seems gently suggestive of the fog of English memory. Spencer eloquently illustrates the ridiculousness and malice of the British nobility, and a monarchy brimming with traditionalists who would do whatever it takes to ostracize anyone with the slightest semblance of normalcy. Kristen Stewart plays the contrarian merely by having a sense of decency in a dynasty that appears to be otherwise royally immoral, with torturously enforced rituals and weirdly uncanny behavior. The visuals are absolutely flawless with the luxurious and astonishing costumes which, together with the extensive location of Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, perfectly present the melancholic vibe of the private place of the British royal family, which surrounds a cloudy and bleak atmosphere that is normal to find in England.