The year is 1991. Diana Spencer (Kristen Stewart) is on her way to the Sandringham estate in Norfolk to celebrate Christmas with the royal family. It is evident right away that she would rather be anywhere but there. From having to weigh yourself upon entry to the castle, being told what to wear and for which occasion and always having an eye on her, Diana is unhappy and seemingly caged in. It is over these three days that she decides to leave her marriage to Prince Charles (Jack Farthing).
Directed by Pablo Larraín who was the man behind 2016’s Jackie, Spencer is described as being a fable based on a true story. The audience is sucked into Diana’s mind during these three days over the holiday and how she so desperately wanted to get away from it all. It is an interesting, and rather different, portrayal than what we have been used to seeing in the past.
Kristen Stewart received early praise for her performance as the beloved Princess and I was very excited to see it for myself. I had a feeling that she would be outstanding and she really was; I can see the award noms coming in now. The resemblance was uncanny, particularly in the way she held herself. She was surrounded by a great cast as well. In particular, Timothy Spall, who excels in everything he does, is Major Alistair Gregory, hired specifically to look after Diana during the weekend. And then there is Sally Hawkins, who stars as Diana’s dresser Maggie, and is perhaps the only person who she can trust.
As Spencer is a fable, it is important to keep in mind that the events depicted in the film are not necessarily true. If anything, I believe it is one interpretation amongst many. It’s all about the bigger picture: that this woman wanted nothing more than to break free from what society expected from her and what she had to do to make that happen. The story was haunting and beautiful although rather sad. To think she was able to walk away but then to have her life tragically taken from her years later.