Spencer ★★★★

November List
Movies I Saw in Theatres

I’m absolutely stunned after seeing this. I thought I was in for some snooze fest royal politics Downton Abbey bullshit and instead I got a psychological thriller that put Princess Diana in a whole new, visceral perspective. Kristen Stewart’s haunting and melancholy performance as Princess Diana was truly incredible and she underwent a complete transformation in this role, both physically and mentally. The work she must’ve put into it was astounding. I can’t imagine the amount of hours she studied Diana through books, tv clips, shows/films and other mediums, all of it culminating in her best performance, at least in her career so far. 

I couldn’t believe she managed to pull it off so well. She really shows Diana as a trapped and wounded animal trying to escape, but the box that is ROYALTY is keeping her in and keeping her insane. The degradation of Diana shows her humanity and her fierce fight for life. I think what this movie did really well above all else is making Diana a human, peering behind the mask she put on for the cameras. 

From a technical viewpoint, the cinematography and directing was gorgeous. I’ve never heard of the director so it was a pleasant surprise to see this new work. For some reason it reminded me a lot of Capone with Tom Hardy. There were a lot of long shots, very slow and meticulous and unwavering. Much like Capone, Diana was almost always in frame and even when she wasn’t, she still remained the center of attention. Of course, the hallucinations also reminded me a lot of Capone in the way that they were set up and executed. I loved seeing how the camera work and editing reflected Diana’s mental state, giving us moments of intense vomit inducing (literally) anxiety and then moments to cool down.

I thought the music was interesting, a very weird mix of classical, jazz, and abstract ambient music, but for the most part it worked (we’ll get to the part that doesn’t). The set and costumes were immaculate, as I had no doubt they would be since movies like this usually thrive off of it. But it was interesting juxtaposition of this external environment with Diana’s own internal one; the shiny over abundant life of the royals mixing with the ever gloomy life of Diana’s. Simply put, it was eye candy! 

The other actors were just as incredible. One actor I thought who was on par with Kristen Stewart was Timothy Spall who played Alistair Gregory. His monologue about Belfast had me enamored. I also thought Sean Harris who played the head chef was great. I mean the whole kitchen bit was so good, but he was the one that made it great. I loved how in the beginning the military delivered the ingredients in these big metal boxes which just shows the insane limits royalty will go to to get what they want and to protect the shit out of it too. 

Now I feel the movie wavers in one way and one way only: the plot. It felt much too long and meandered and several moments without much point. For example, the beginning confused the hell outta me and I thought it was completely unnecessary. It certainly would have saved us some time. But even more so than the beginning, the ending really disappointed me. I feel like it threw away everything the movie was building and leading up to. Honestly just seemed like a lazy way to end the movie in a happy way, which I wish it didn’t try. It made it seem like none of Diana’s problems mattered and were resolved simply by one conversation. All of the beautifully haunting and personal moments that happened throughout the film that made me want to help Diana were basically all dashed away at the end because well, it seemed she already had all the help she needed! That just ain’t it! Anne Boleyn didn’t have a happy ending, why should Diana at the end of this movie? Let her sit with it like she actually did until her untimely death. Isn’t that what this movie was ultimately trying to show? 

And the song they used in the end?! HUH?!?!?!?

My suggestion is come to the movie 15 minutes late and leave 15 minutes early. Then you’d get a 5 star film. But as it stands, it’s gonna have to be a 4.

I do hope she gets at LEAST an Oscar nom.

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