Spencer ★★★

not sure if this effectively accomplishes everything it sets out to do. it feels at times thematically nonspecific and a tad wandering. that being said, the areas where it is successful are striking. it perfectly evokes the feeling of being trapped via the score, direction, and stewart’s performance, and larrain illustrates a strong control of tone as he expertly communicates diana’s panicked and trapped state.

it definitely gets better as it goes along. it took a moment to get used to stewart’s whispered-like-air-being-pushed-out-of-a-balloon dialogue (not that that’s bad. it’s how diana talked, british-ness just baffles me), and the historical elements that specifically comment on the royal family come more into play in the second half. the nonspecificity was only an issue for me because once i accessed the same psychological wavelength as the film, it began to feel drawn out and a bit meandering. i wish the film had been slightly more direct in what diana wants, not because it was difficult to figure it out from stewart’s performance, but because scenes began to feel repetitive as the camera watches her look longingly trapped time and time again. the character’s passivity and lack of agency began to feel tedious pretty quickly, especially when diana’s up against the equally passive status quo that is the royal family. i guess her not being able to say what she wants lends itself to the tonal and psychological aspects, as she is silenced and ignored by the royals, but a moment where something more specific is established in the subtext (maybe some real stakes, anything?) may have lent itself to the narrative and making the film just a bit more interesting.

i left the theater feeling good (just a bit empty) and my opinion of the film has only risen as the overall aura sits with me and the particulars no longer matter. i fear it won’t survive a rewatch but it’s tough to deny the overwhelming beauty and grace with which the film was made. think it’s somewhere at like a 6.5/10 and normally i round down but i’ll go 3.5 stars for the hell of it. awesome cinematography and score. this is johnny greenwood’s year baby.

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