Royal costume dramas became something of thing recently with the rampant success of the Netflix drama The Crown. Spencer brings us a sideways take on one Christmas with the Royals during the complete collapse of Dianas marriage to Prince Charles and her cycle downwards before the inevitable occurs.
The marriage between Princess Diana and Prince Charles has long since grown cold. Though rumors of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at the queen’s estate. There’s eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana knows the game, but this year, things will be profoundly different.
Let’s get one thing straight about Spencer. Kristen Stewart is absolutely incredible in this. You can take or leave Pablo Larrain’s (Jackie) take on things, but Stewart acting and look is on another early realm, far beyond what Spencer deserved to be blunt. Spencer is one of those films that features a five star performance, but its stuck in a two/three star movie.
Larrains penchant for frustrating film making as evidenced in Jackie, is back for Spencer, the odd tone and shifting narrative doesn’t help much and the overbearing soundtrack (from Radioheads Johnny Greenwood) will be marmite for most. It just overpowers everything and after a while it becomes something of a ear worm and not in a good way. Times you simply want the music to stop so the stillness of the narrative can tell the story. But you don’t get a choice. Piped in whether the viewer likes it or not, it eventually ends up detracting from Spencers overall storytelling and becomes somewhat of an annoyance.
Supporting Stewart are the ever brilliant Timothy Spall and Sally Hawkins, but even they can’t save Spencer from being a over played convoluted mess. Larrains got an idea of a movie, but simply squashes it from ever being something of worth. Watch Spencer for Kristen Stewarts performance and don’t expect anything else, and you might quite enjoy Spencer, but other than that, it’s somewhat of a art house misfire that will be remembered when Stewart clears up at 2022 awards season, fully deserved as it is, but the film? Completely forgettable.
Spencer is on nationwide release at cinemas and available to rent on Digital now