Spencer ★★★½

2021 Ranked

Caught in a crossfire between interesting art house character piece and generic Oscar baity biopic, even leaning a bit too much into the latter and not enough into the former. Fortunately, Kristen Stewart is a tremendous talent — one of the greatest we have — and this is yet another phenomenal performance from her. I’m still of the belief that her performance in Personal Shopper is the best of her career thus far, and this is definitely a flashier performance for her whereas that one was subtle, but Stewart’s performance in this is still one that demonstrates actual skill and not merely a glorified SNL impression like many biopic performances are; it’s easily one of the best performances of the year, and all the accolades she has won and will continue to win will be completely deserved. Pablo Larraín, as others have mentioned, is doing something here akin to what he did with Jackie again, albeit it’s less successful this time around due to a clearly weaker script. That said, this is impeccably crafted in its formalism — with Claire Mathon’s photography and Jonny Greenwood’s musical compositions in particular being the highlights — and Sally Hawkins and Timothy Spall shine in supporting roles. But Spencer is Stewart’s film first and foremost, and she makes it more than worthwhile.

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