Will Steele’s review published on Letterboxd:
"A fable from a true tragedy"
Like the Lady herself, Spencer is defiantly and unconventionally tempestuous. We are promised a fable which Pablo Larraín more than delivers. In fact it's easy to lose sight of this opening line, this mission statement of sorts. Recent times have seen a dizzying oversaturation of biopics perpetuated by the awards potential of any film to feature a real-life figure portrayed by an actor giving a transformative turn. Yet Spencer bucks this trend and challenges the expectations of biographical filmmaking. After all, this is not a biopic but a fable.
Initially, I felt underwhelmed by the austerity and reserve of Spencer. Kristen Stewart's performance begins small and grows gradually. An American actress portraying Diana brings with it an air of expectation: A high hurdle which any outsider must clear in embodying such a uniquely cherished figure. What Stewart lacks is that biographical rigour we have come to expect and undoing that expectation is essential but ultimately liberating. Kristen Stewart wears every pang of guttural strife on her face. The result is an elevation from mere mimicry: Stewart captures the essence of Diana's anguish, and in doing so, communicates something truer than what dialogue or direction can provide.
Much like Jackie, Pablo Larraín provides an experience - a cacophany of violent emotions. Anyone left unmoved by Spencer perhaps misunderstands its purpose. It is true to the tragedy. It is true to Diana. It is intoxicating.