“Spencer (Neon, 11.5) won’t do if you’re looking for fresh insights into Diana, Princess of Wales, or even an absorbing rehash of one of the most rehashed stories ever. That’s not to minimize the achievement of Kristen Stewart, who portrays the former Diana Spencer as a woman possessed by outer demons as well as inner ones. The problem is the dramatic vacuum, or suffocating bell jar, in which her performance plays out.
“Pablo Larraín’s film, written by Steven Knight, calls itself a ‘fable from a true tragedy.’ It might also be called a fever dream, a surreal nightmare, a reductio ad tedium or just an inherently limiting concept that slowly but inexorably squeezes the life out of itself.” — from Joe Morgenstern’s 11.4 Wall Street Journal review.
“Spencer “is a simplistic, impressionistic head-trip film…a surreal mindscape movie…a kind of nightmarish Stepford Wives (or wife) in the country. Kristen Stewart will be Best Actress nominated, I’m presuming, [but she] plays the mad, close-to-cracking-up Diana to the unstable-adolescent-teenager, Julie Harris-in-The Haunting hilt — beset by visions & nightmares & the ghost of Anne Boleyn.
“Spencer follows the wokester narrative that British Anglo elitism is evil and rancid and needs to be resisted at all costs. Because Diana needs to breathe, love, live, talk to pheasants and save her sons from those toxic royal traditions and soul-smothering attitudes.” — from HE’s 9.4. Telluride review.