julia 🌈’s review published on Letterboxd:
tw: mention of eating disorder in the first paragraph.
the dress you deem too small has room to spare around your ribcage. the window, your only escape to the real world, is the exact thing that lets in the demons. the curtains keep out the light while keeping your image intact. the jewelry that ‘makes up half your weight’ only reminds you of who you’re supposed to be. the pearl necklace hangs heavy around you neck, laced with the notion of betrayal. the boarded up house is how you view your past — inaccessible, dark, forgotten. you’re trying to reach your memories but you’re bombarded with bodies standing in your way. you only feel like ‘you’ when you are destroying yourself — two fingers down your throat, a drop of blood on your dress, shoving pastry into the hole of your stomach, whispering curses to the vast prison in which you are trapped. your children, the only people who make you sunny, are a reminder of the tether to your second life. and through it all you seem the most human piece of an institution of tradition, treachery, and terror.
Spencer is a real life horror movie. the vast halls of Sandringham estate are made claustrophobic by constant anxiety, the lavish meals are nothing more than ancient ritual, a normally special time of year is made horrific and drenched in tears and sweat. while different from what I was expecting, this delivered on a different level than just telling a sad story. Spencer gets into your veins and infects you with a sense of gloom that can only be tied to fame and fortune. Kristen Stewart truly disappears into Diana, moments of this film had me trying not to breathe to catch on to every second of her whispery dialogue, her accent poised and perfect, her expressions reserved but devastating. less a narrative story and more a series of frightening and harrowing scenes of a woman so far gone with no one to truly save her, Spencer is difficult to watch at times but somehow rewarding. be it Johnny Greenwood’s (phenomenal) hypnotic paranoid jazz mixed with infusions of organ and string music that make for sequences dizzyingly beautiful, or the lavish cinematography that covers the pain with a sheen of beauty, or the supporting performances that give Diana depth and infuse the setting with either joy or anguish, Spencer is a horrific yet stunning portrait of a woman so ghostly she may as well be dead.
Also: shout out to the two people who left the theatre 45 minutes in, and the couple behind me who kept talking during the eerily quiet scenes. remarkable that even in the 21st century we still haven’t figured out cinema etiquette.