Spencer ★★★★

At this point in Kristen Stewart's career, it should be no surprise that she can act. She still stars in mainstream fare such as Charlie's Angels and Happiest Season and remains a tabloid fixture. All the while, Stewart has done more lowkey work with auteurs like Kelly Reichardt. Her latest starring turn in Spencer may be the first one that combines both of these spheres — it's a delicately haunting performance that is augmented by her real world celebrity. Surrounded by an excellent ensemble, Stewart's star shines brightly. Princess Di's status as a fashion icon leads to some very pretty costumes, most are feminine, but there's some more androgynous looks too. KStew stans are going to be eating.

There's a delicate line being balanced in the edit between straightforward period drama and a more impressionistic building of atmosphere. Director Pablo Larraín perhaps drops the viewer into the deep end too quickly; the beginning of the film is going to lose a lot of people. But he trusts the viewer to follow along as the stifling tension builds up not unlike a psychological thriller. It's the straightforward stuff that falters more, with a script that puts too fine a point on things. But by the end, we're with Diana, and devastated by and for her. Fortunately, it's not all misery. Diana fights for her pockets of joy, away from her loveless husband and uncaring Queen. In those moments, Spencer reveals itself not to be a tragedy, but a farce. And the joke's on those stuffy royals.

Both Claire Mathon's cinematography and Johnny Greenwood's compositions go hard. Mathon's masterful way of lighting those opulent indoor spaces combines with Larraín's preference for wide angle closeups. Never have such beautiful rooms felt so much like a prison.

Q&A with director Pablo Larraín & Kristen Stewart, who wore a sparkly outfit to introduce the film but changed into jeans for the post-screening discussion.

Enjoyed this behind the scenes into the costumes, many of which were pulled from Chanel's archives.

And some tidbits on the production design and food styling.

Block or Report

andrew liked these reviews