theriverjordan’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Spencer” is less a portrait, than it is a fractured image of self-reflection split between its subject and its painter.
That painter, being Kristen Stewart, who does the commendable work of being the rare actor in a biopic to - not - sink totally and utterly into her role. And the film, and her performance, are all the more remarkable for that.
Rather than lose every bit of herself in Diana, Stewart instead merges physical and psychological aspects of herself with those of her screen personage. There is, after all, only a fine line between a princess and an actress. And that line merges at the point of celebrity; when neither belong to themselves, but instead, as a commodity, to the consumer.
Stewart, who moved from child star to icon of fandom, losing and finding herself in between, appears to reclaim her own identity through that of Spencer. Her interpretation of the late royal is not a monument. It is a declaration.
And, it is not only the mental travails that director Pablo Larraín languishes upon in his examination of Stewart-Spencer. He encourages the two women to speak their liberation through movement and personal mannerism.
Distinction in physicality becomes an escape module. When every word is overheard and spread as currency, it is rather the distinct inward hunch or curve of the back sideward that is markedly that of Stewart; brought forth through her medium of Diana.
Two women - delivering their own salvation through expression in one another; across time.