Growing up my Nan always used to tell me she remembers the exact moment she found out Princess Diana died. She was sitting at the table when my Uncle came running down the stairs to tell her. They both sat there and cried. Now, my family has never been royal “lovers”, in fact I believe we are rather mutual on the whole idea. However my Nan has told me this story time and time again, not to emphasise the fact that she remembers (which at 92 is an achievement of itself) but to reiterate that she, Diana, was the people’s Princess. Everyone loved her.
What Pablo Larraín has managed to capture in ‘Spencer’, the terrifying horror of real life, is nothing short of extraordinary. Every moment hits you like a bus, you feel the overwhelming sense of dread and anxiousness that inhabit every corner of the film, and while the story is a simple one, it’s nonetheless effective at putting you in the shoes of the Princess.
I’m sure we’ve seen plenty of takes on this tragedy before, The Crown the most recent in memory, yet Spencer still feels fresh, unique and interesting to me. It is intoxicating filmmaking at its finest. Kirsten Stewart is magnificent as Princess Diana. She inhabits the role perfectly, drawing you in and stunning you with her execution that has to be rewarded come Oscar night. On top of that, Jonny Greenwood score does wonders throughout. Every single scene is enhanced, creating many that made me, as the audience, anxious in my seat, biting my nails at what unfolded.
Spencer illustrates claustrophobia and panic to remarkable poetic effect. Pablo Larrain makes no apologies for showing Diana’s braking psyche and while it will obviously leave some members feeling cold, for me, it delivered on everything it needed to, making me care about her life and wanting to see more from her sadly doomed future. The bar was high given all the praise and yet Spencer still surprised me. This is anxiety filmmaking at its finest.
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