If you go into Pablo Larraín’s Spencer (2021), expecting it to be an accurate representation of Princess Diana’s life, you will be disappointed. As the opening sequence in the film says, “A fable from a tragedy,” what Larrain offers here is a window into the sequential repression that Diana faced. The Spencer script, is thus, a thing of absolute beauty.

With every passing word, you can feel the oppression and anxiety that Diana’s character in the film is facing. The translation to the screen wouldn’t have worked if it wasn’t for Kristen Stewart’s champion of a performance. The actress doesn’t disappear into the role but clearly gives a whole new dimension to it with her own voice clamoring to the hammer of time.

Set during the Christmas holidays and mostly about the royal family’s extremely royal and traditional celebration at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England, Spencer opens with the shots of the Kitchen. Formidably, a character on its own, the way the opening sequence is shot and written could only be found in chamber pieces that understand the beauty of how to set things up.

Also, Read – Spencer (2021) Review: An Admirable Film That Evades All Tired Biopic Tropes

Before introducing us to Diana, screenplay writer Steven Knight brings the key players to the foreground. There’s a lot of movement that happens but there’s also a sense of pretense and privilege that Knight is able to procure simply through his established personas.

The first time this sense of unease and pretense breaks is when we see a confused and slightly disturbed Diana stop by a restaurant to find the address of the mansion she is about to go to. The script of Spencer is delirious, crackling, and simply put – quite campy in tone and feel.

However, it doesn’t take away from the fact that Larrain lifts the entire source into a film of quiet beauty. This isn’t the first time he has cleverly taken on the biopic subgenre. Neruda and Jackie were clear examples of what the Chilean director is capable of. With Spencer, he gives us a thunderous, subversion of the biopic genre and we deserve more films like it.




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