Director: Pablo Larráin
Story By: Steven Knight
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Jack Nielen, Freddie Spry, Timothy Spall, & Sally Hawkins
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Was this film for us, or was this for Stewart to showcase some true acting chops, and Larráin to have some creative fun with the Diana story?
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Below are my grades for key components in #Spencer that I find to be key in any story/film/series—Theme, Plot, Pacing, and Character (pertaining to arc/development &/or delivery). FYI: My A=95, A- =90, B=85, B-=80…etc. My D- =60 and my F=50
Additionally, I have added an entertainment factor scale to help you determine whether or not the film is something you’d be interested in taking time out of your weekend, evening, or day to watch. The scale range consists of: Worth the Watch/$$$, Interesting Enough (if looking for something new to start, OR experience is intentionally relevant to the genre and executed well–nothing more), Wait for Streaming, Don’t Rush, & Don’t Watch.
I have also added a few non-spoiling thoughts, wonderings, and comments as I watched the film to help give some rationale for my grades and entertainment scale.
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Plot & Story: A
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General Public: Don’t Watch
Film Enthusiasts: Interesting Enough
Experience Seekers (via Visuals & Score): Don’t Watch
Biographical Drama Fans: Interesting Enough
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1. One thing about us in the LGBTQIA+ community—we are always in the picture, and usually close by. 😂🤷🏾♂️
2. I really liked the classical, jazzy score! 😩🙌🏾
3. So at first I thought Kristen Stewart delivered a pretty decent Diana, but after some processing… it was just okay, and maybe a little too staged at times. For example, the montage where it felt like they constantly showed that coy, over the shoulder gesture. Now she did have the walk down, and her accent was pretty solid.
In terms of her overall arc/development, I found the plot to be too subtle in its character impact—primarily in Act One. However there is a nicely developed, almost crescendo like, display of familial microaggressions in Acts Two and Three that definitely helped support the theme which I appreciated. 👍🏾
4. I actually respected the film being solely on Diana vs the family. At one point, I was hoping we’d never even seen the Queen’s face… Now that would’ve been interesting. 🤔👍🏾
5. Spencer is a story that focuses on the impact of wealth and royal status on Diana’s mental, emotional, and physical state, as well as her relationship with her children. Despite the pacing, the story was beautifully told.
Act One does a really great job visually representing how distant, different, isolated, controlled, and lonely this new life and world was to Diana, and is further supported via dialogue by Stewart.
Act Two brings in the mental impact of this new life on Diana through ideas she had about her image and worthiness, as well as questions she had about her existence. Additionally, we see how important her children are in helping her to maintain.
Act Three brings everything closing in on Diana, inciting her need for a chance to just breathe. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾
6. I loved the metaphor with the pheasant. 👍🏾
7. One theme/message that stood out for me was “When you/we happen to lose ourself, we lose our Self.” Although I didn’t recognize to appreciate it until the end, Stewart’s introductory scene sets this message in motion in a such a symbolic way.
And as the film progresses, Stewart delivers a character whose Self is subtly unraveling due to being lost, which goes back to the overall premise of the story. She loses her confidence. Seemingly loses her mind. And loses her ability to manage the basics of human survival. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾
8. I also loved the symbolism behind the castle being so cold. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾
9. Oh, Maggie! 🤭
10. Despite everything else being pretty decent, this film moves so slow. I mean, literally and honestly, it can come off quite boring to the average viewer.
The opening of the film is so lackluster, though you know it’s meant to be something important, and this is the case for all of Act One. And even though Acts Two and Three feel good, it also moves at a turtles pace—well, I’ll give it a tortoise from “The Tortoise and the Hare” pace. Even the montage started felt like editors said to themselves, “alright now, what can I do to stay up and finish this before the deadline?”🥴🤷🏾♂️👎🏾
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Overall #Spencer gives The Crown (obviously) – meets Herself – meets A Beautiful Mind – meets For The Love of Nancy
As I said to start this review, “Was this film for us, or was this for Stewart to showcase some true acting chops, and Larráin to have some creative fun with the Diana story?” If anything, this film is a solid display of symbolism usage.
In terms of providing an engaging telling of Diana’s life, I prefer The Crown and Elizabeth Debicki; but in terms of providing an interesting and critical eye on Diana’s experience with the royal family, this film does that…but only during the last half of the film, so did I really need this entire film?
I can see Kristen Stewart possibly getting some buzz around Golden Globes, but maybe not with the Emmy’s. But you know Hollywood, and she could easily be tossed in the Emmy race seeing this is a nice acting surprise from Kristen Stewart which I can also stand behind.