Kristen Stewart Suffocates As Lady Di In An Oscar Performance
It is very cold at the Sandringham estate where the British royal family spends Christmas. They don’t want to turn up the heat and prefer to cover themselves with blankets, Diana (Kristen Stewart) complains . Also, the walls hear. Be careful what you say because it will reach the queen. They also weigh you down as soon as you arrive for the celebration of the festivities (“it’s tradition”) in order to check if you have gained a few kilos when you leave, a sign that you have been fed well. Ah! And the gifts are distributed on Christmas Eve.
Loosely following Jackie’s narrative scheme , Pablo Larraín takes us in Spencer to that majestic country house during Lady Di’s last Christmas vacation with the Windsors. This magnificent approach to the life of the character on screen (one of the best with The Crown) has arrived at the San Sebastian Festival after passing through Venice as the most pleasant of surprises.
Far from the childish, jovial and innocent princess that we have often seen depicted in film and TV, Diana de Larraín is a woman suffocated and upset by media exposure, by the archaic “tradition” of royalty and by the infidelities of her husband. Everyone fears her reactions, everyone controls her, while she, indomitable, rebellious and absolutely lost, tries not to explode during those three days that she must spend with her in-laws.
The Chilean’s main success is to focus on Diana and tell this story through her relationship with the service of the country house and her children. The royal family, although present, is relegated to a very second level (even the monarch’s corgis monopolize more footage than her) and it is through the head cook, the assistant or, above all, Guillermo and Harry, that the filmmaker explores pain and the tiredness of the protagonist.
His best ally is a magnetic Stewart, who seduces with that shy Lady Di, with a bowed head and an evasive gaze that we saw through the screens, but also with the Diana that we did not know, destroyed and obsessed with Ana Bolena, who screams in silence , who vomits his binges on food and injures himself. The actress, in her best performance so far, makes us feel the anguish of the character at lunchtime, her marital frustration, the absolute claustrophobia in that farm.
Thus, Larraín signs his most complete bet as a director, a fable in which we return to his precious worlds, slow, sometimes too metaphorical (Ana Bolena, the pheasants), taken care of in detail from its staging to its wardrobe. With that visual poetics that characterizes him, he takes us to the protagonist’s most personal memories, to her childhood with the Hula Hoop or her youth on a bicycle; we dance and run with her through Norfolk as she clings to an old coat of her father, while sneaks into the house where she grew up to break that choking necklace, while putting an end with her children to that “present past” to look to the future.
Spencer is, in essence, the mini-chronicle about a Diana who, after hitting rock bottom, must once again recover the happy girl she was before she became a princess, Diana’s journey from Wales to Diana Spencer told in a masterly way. She needed a miracle, she deserved it, and Larraín and Stewart have given it to her, vindicating her as an insecure, rebellious, imperfect and wonderful heroine who yearns to regain her freedom.