Watch Spencer

"Every fairy tale ends."
  • R
  • 2021
  • 1 hr 51 min
  • 6.6  (76,020)
  • 76

Spencer is a mesmerizing and haunting biopic of Princess Diana that offers a stunning portrayal of her turmoil, fragility, pain, and eventual defiance. The director, Pablo Larraín, focuses on a pivotal weekend in 1991 when Princess Diana, trapped in the failing royal marriage and constantly scrutinized by the media, decided to defy the royal etiquette and extricate herself from the suffocating world of palace protocols. She refused to be the perfect wife and mother anymore and instead embraced her passions, desires, and individuality.

Kristen Stewart delivers an outstanding performance as Princess Diana that is both sensitive and raw. She captures Diana's fragile and vulnerable side with precision, but also brings out her courage and determination. Stewart's physical transformation into Diana is striking - from the clothes, hairstyle, and mannerisms to the soft-spoken voice and the little gestures that convey so much emotion. Stewart embodies the woman behind the myth and reveals her depths and contradictions.

The supporting cast is equally impressive. Timothy Spall plays a droll and skeptical head chef who observes Diana's breakdown with grim humor. Sally Hawkins portrays Maggie, a kind-hearted palace employee who tries to alleviate Diana's stress with tea and empathy. These characters provide some comic relief and humanity amidst the tense and oppressive atmosphere of the palace.

Larraín's direction is masterful, using sharp cuts, slow-motion, and surreal imagery to convey Diana's state of mind. The cinematography by Claire Mathon is stunning, capturing the grandeur and claustrophobia of the palace with equal finesse. The soundtrack by Jonny Greenwood is haunting and evocative, adding to the dreamlike and unsettling mood.

Spencer is not a traditional biopic that presents a linear narrative or a comprehensive depiction of Diana's life. Instead, it focuses on a critical moment that reveals her inner turmoil and decision-making. The film delves into Diana's psyche and emotions, exploring her fears, doubts, hopes, and regrets. It is a character study that gives us an intimate and empathetic portrait of a woman who was both a victim and a rebel.

The film also critiques the royal institution and the media that exploited and harassed Diana. It shows how the palace rules suffocated her personality and creativity, and how the tabloids sensationalized her private life and destroyed her privacy. Larraín and Christopher Hampton's screenplay humanizes Diana and portrays her as a woman who was more than a tragic figure or a saintly icon.

One of the strengths of the film is the way it uses symbolism and analogies to convey Diana's themes and motifs. The repeated image of rotten meat, for example, serves as a metaphor for the state of the royal family and the society it represents. The stag that Diana encounters in the woods is a symbol of her spirit animal and her longing for freedom. The sequence in which Diana dances to Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl" in her bedroom is a powerful expression of her rebellion against the expectations of the royal family and her desire for individuality.

However, the film is not flawless. Some viewers may find it slow-paced or repetitive, and the surreal interludes may feel jarring or confusing. The absence of Prince Charles and the royal family's reactions to Diana's crisis may also disappoint some viewers who expect a more comprehensive story.

Overall, Spencer is a remarkable and moving film that honors Princess Diana's legacy and humanity. It is a tribute to her courage, resilience, and compassion, and a critique of the forces that oppressed and exploited her. Kristen Stewart's stunning performance and Pablo Larraín's visionary direction create a haunting and unforgettable portrait of a woman who transcended her status and touched the world.

Spencer is a 2021 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 51 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.6 and a MetaScore of 76.

Where to Watch Spencer
Spencer is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Hulu, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Spencer for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 51 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.6  (76,020)
  • Metascore