Spencer ★★★½

Takes a bit to get going for Kristen Stewart herself, relying heavily on the believability as her transformation into Princess Diana, rather than an embodiment of the person. Reminds me of getting past the first shocks of Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, where it’s impossible to not separate the two, but eventually come into its own as the actor is propelled by the supporting cast and continuation of the narrative. It’s a complex performance, but really succeeds in the more familial moments, culminating to a captivating story about societal pressures, sanity, and losing your own humanity to serve something higher. Jonny Greenwood deserves his recognition here, if not for giving his beautiful track “Crucifix”, an even more stunning moment in context, than for using free jazz in the best way possible, to unnerve the audience and to remind you of the hauntings in these halls. Claire Mathon’s cinematography is always extraordinary, and in Spencer, it’s a luscious mix of gleaming light on blurry, yet pure landscapes, characters, and objects. What a gut wrenching feeling now to see the beautiful poster in its context. Had reservations about this going in, with my detachment from all things royalty and for how tough biopics can be, but Pablo Larraín gives the material a unique quality that is able to be moving, relatable, and informative.

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