Ryan’s review published on Letterboxd:
Spencer is exquisite. Molded from a beautiful Johnny Greenwood score and shaped by Laraín’s stunning cinematography and temporal editing, the film is a multifaceted exploration of royalty as religion, and the ultimate legacy of the monarchs is to be seen not as people, but currency. Kristen Stewart’s performance is understated yet bold, a physical performance that in its intricacy’s, speak volumes in relation to her fear and mental health. The flights of fantasy the film will occasionally detour into invoke imagery of an inverted paradise, Diana’s hell as she sees and experiences it. While the scenes that take place outside the royals Christmas mansion are juxtaposed to this, Diana and her luscious costumes (so much symbolism there) seemingly always complementing the countryside around her. Sally Hawkins is also excellent and the scenes Diana shares with her children are emotionally vibrant in their range of emotions, both from mother to children, and Vice versa.
Diana is stuck in time, so to speak, because she no longer resembles the person she was, which begs the question, what does that mean for the person she will become? Diana, struggling to outgrow her elite upbringing and position, is stranded in time, holding onto the mask that sinks her deeper into her losing battle against the societal constraints she finds herself in. Diana’s story is ultimately about a past innocence being lost and a future destroyed by that very mask: the mask that would endure as currency, the ultimate religion, and the perceived “otherness” of the royals.
LFF 2021 #4