Frankly speaking, we have never been big fans of Kristen Stewart, whether it was her grating-on-your-nerves performance as Bella Swan in the Twilight films or the fact that she retained her lack of emoting later in her career as well in films like Charlie’s Angels, Snowwhite and the Huntsman, etc. Some would point out that her 2020 film Happiest Season was a big success but that majorly worked because it was an ensemble comedy and didn’t just rely on Stewart. That said, if Kristen Stewart doesn’t end up taking home the Best Actress Oscar next year for her recently released Spencer, nothing would be more injustified.
Pablo Larrain directed Spencer is a fictionalized version of Princess Diana arriving at the decision to end her marriage with Prince Charles, thus leaving the British Royal Family and the title of “Your Royal Highness.” This won’t be the first time when the story of Princess Diana has been told but no one has parted the curtain to provide a peek into her chaotic life like Pablo Larrain. And while there are times when the film skids and stutters against its complex philosophical plotline, Kristen Stewart never stops being the haunting visage of Diana. Just like Spencer’s unique depiction of Diana’s life, no one has ever played the late Princess of Wales with such perfection.
Kristen Stewart gives a flawless performance as Diana in Spencer whether it is nailing her accent, perfectly portraying her mannerisms, or projecting her turbulent emotions, the suffocation, the pressure of leading the life of royal, and the heartbreaking desire for freedom she felt in the last years of her life. Larrain has aptly used metaphors as the mirror to the hurricane brewing inside Diana’s mind when she felt alone and an outsider in the British Royal Family, while dreading to even breathe freely as her every action had a paparazzi camera trained on it. Stewart immerses herself in depicting a woman who led a sad life trying to balance the lack of stable relationships, an abundance of fame, and being the object of intense scrutiny whether it was by the royal family or the media.
Princess Diana will forever remain a tragic figure in history and most of us have only read the tumultuous years she survived while holding her head high, striving to not let others dictate her life. But Kristen Stewart’s soulful performance in Spencer, and not to mention the fact that she is looking like the spitting image of Diana, gives us the chance to know the person behind the story and experience the decisions, mistakes, and emotions that shaped the late princess’ life. Oh yes, we have finally joined the Stewart fandom ship and here is to hoping that she continues to be a dazzling marvel in her future films as well.
At its heart, Spencer isn’t exactly about Diana. Early on in the film, it is established that it is “a fable from a true tragedy”- there is no account that the events depicted in the film have actually happened in real life. Thus, what the film really focuses on is the fragility of human relationships and a broken soul holding on, aspiring to stitch together its fractures. And needless to say, Kristen Stewart commands the screen.