If you’re not a child of the 80s, you may not remember the tragic story of Diana, Princess of Wales. Diana was the wife of Prince Charles and the mother of William and Harry. She was loved by the people for her fashion and activism. (As well as the paparazzi for her messy personal life.)
Diana’s story isn’t unlike a lot of historical marriages. An older man courts and marries a significantly younger woman, which eventually becomes a loveless relationship. Affairs happen on both sides and things end in divorce. However, Diana’s story doesn’t end there. On August 30th, 1997, Diana died in a car crash in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris, while her driver was fleeing the paparazzi. There were/are many conspiracy theories behind her death, one of which Spencer insinuates as truth.
“A Fable from a True Tragedy”
Spencer, which takes place roughly in 1992, sends the viewer on an artistic journey of Diana’s life during the Christmas holiday with the Royal Family, while also in the midst of deciding whether or not she should divorce Charles due to his affair with Camilla. As an A24 film, I knew Spencer would be beautifully shot, and have a very interesting score. (Which somehow I love even though it’s also overly dramatic.) But, the two main questions I had going in were 1. How would Kristen Stewart do? and 2. What story are they going to tell?
KRISTEN STEWART’S BEST WORK YET
As a huge fan of Stewart’s, long before her Twilight days, I know that she has grown into a phenomenal actress. However, I was unsure of how she would do portraying such an iconic character and a real person such as Diana. Let me tell you, my expectations have been SMASHED. I found Stewart to embody Diana to a Daniel Day-Lewis level of magic. Whether it’s her dancing, charm, walk and hop-skip downstairs, or nailing Diana’s cadence and accent to a T, Stewart 100% did her homework on a masterful level! I honestly cannot wait for all the side-by-side videos to come out. I will be shocked if Kristen Stewart’s name isn’t on the list of nominees for an Oscar.
The scenes Stewart’s Diana has with William and Harry are my favorite of the entire film. You can see how consumed with love she has for them and the love that the boys have for her. I do hope if her sons watch anything from the film, it’s those scenes that are done with care and respect.
Spencer: The Issues
Though beautifully shot, well-directed, and acted magnificently, I have major issues with the story of Spencer. The film portrays Diana as a weak woman consumed by her husband’s affair with another woman. This affair consumes her so much so that she begins to compare herself to Anne Boleyn. If you’re unfamiliar with Anne, she was the wife of Henry VIII. When Henry fell in love with another woman, Anne was accused of having an affair. She was beheaded and Henry remarried – divorced wasn’t a thing they did back then. That’s the Cliffsnotes version.
Diana was very open about her struggles with bulimia and mental health with the public in real life. However, Spencer insinuates that all of her issues stem from her disintegrating relationship with Charles which, to me, couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, Charles was having an affair with Camilla (who can forget Tampongate in 1993), but Diana was also having her own affairs before they finally divorced in August 1996 before her tragic passing a year later.
Spencer tells the story of an anxiety-ridden, frail woman and ignores the pressures of the outside world and duties as a royal that added to her struggles. On top of that, I find choosing to make a comparison between Diana and Anne, feeding into the conspiracy that the Royal Family had her killed, is irresponsible. Diana Spencer deserves to Rest in Peace without insensitive insinuations 20 years later. In the end, the only people who know exactly what went down in their marriage are Charles and Diana. The rest is fanatical speculation.
Thank you very much for reading! What did you think about Spencer and Kristen Stewart’s performance? Make sure to comment and let us know. And make sure to come back to That Hashtag Show to keep up to date with everything pop culture!