Pablo Larrain’s fable from a true tragedy is probably the most dreadfully suffocating Christmas movie in existence.
The year is 1991 and Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales has reluctantly returned to the Queens rural estate for the annual family get together. Shortly following her husband’s affair she must now return to a place she no longer feels any happiness, if she felt any to begin with. The distasteful traditions, weighing yourself before and after the stay to ensure you enjoyed the meals that are honestly bland and gross looking, the massive bird hunt, the boring conversations, the strict regimens, the speeches, and on top of it all the literally chilling air in the massive mansion. Her only saving grace at this point is her wardrobe help and her two sons.
Diana was a free spirit trapped in strict royal secrecy, literally closed off from the world and you can just feel every ounce of it in Kristen Stewart’s performance. It’s one of, if not the best performance by a female actor this year.
The dread of Spencer is amplified immensely by the score and solidified by some masterful filmmaking.
It reminds me that I really need to revisit Pablo Larrain’s Jackie, a film that could easily be a companion for Spencer. Two women chained to lives of great responsibility, thrusted into the world’s spotlight, both tragic fables in their own rights. Spencer is going to land somewhere in my top films of 2021.
The original poster where Diana is in her Christmas dress surrounded by darkness is simple yet powerful, there’s no denying that. But the poster would’ve been 1000x better had they left the entire bathroom on the poster, with her head resting on that toilet, sick to her stomach. Because “Tell them I’m not well”, and she clearly wasn’t.