On DigitalReviews

Spencer (12A) |Close-Up Film Review

Dir: Pablo Larrain, UK/US, 2021, 117 mins.

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Jack Farthing, Timothy Spall, Sally Hawkins

Review by Carlie Newman

Spencer imagines what might have happened during the final few days of the marriage of Prince Charles (Jack Farthing) and Diana (Kristen Stewart). It is set during the Christmas festivities at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk in the early 1990s. We know that the marriage of Charles and his wife has hit rock bottom. Strong rumours of affairs and possible separation and divorce abound as the large royal family meet to enjoy Christmas together.

Diana knows what to expect but is reluctant to join in with the eating – she has an eating disorder – drinking shooting and hunting. She is very unkeen on the latter two and does not want her two young sons to take part either. This year not everything will run as usual. This film tells the story of what happens as Diana makes the decision to leave Charles.

With a mixture of fantasy and reality (in the imagined film sense) we see Diana in a series of beautiful costumes wandering around the estate. She has visions of Anne Boleyn – one of King Henry’s wives – who was eventually beheaded.

Great production with director Pablo Larrain catching the Queen’s displeasure and Diana’s mental health problems. The supporting cast, in particular Diana’s favourite maid, Maggie played by Sally Hawkins and Timothy Spall as the Equerry who watches and follows Diana around, are exactly right.

But mainly the film focusses on Diana played by Kristen Stewart. Stewart gives a very good portrayal of the Princess, even getting her English accent spot on. She is meek and quiet at the beginning and then gathers strength to assert her will towards the end of the film. Don’t go expecting it to be like the Crown. This is a fictionalised hard-hitting version of part of the Diana story.