"Spencer" is a British biographical film released in 2021, also known as "Princess Diana", directed by Pablo Larrain, starring actors Kristen Stewart, Sean Harris, Sally Cecilia Hawkins. The plot tells the British Princess Diana and Prince Charles relationship changes and marital crisis after rumors of an affair with the man. However, it was the Christmas holiday, the royal family must go to the routine celebrations. Although it was to maintain the usual harmony in surface, but Diana also made the most important decision of her life.
The perfect interpretation of Princess Diana's temperament
Kristen Stewart, known for her Twilight series, has been experimenting with different genres in recent years, with commercial films such as Charlie's Angels, Underwater and The Happiest Season, as well as the relatively literary films Personal Shopper and Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. The role of British Princess Diana in Spencer, which was selected for the main competition of 2021 Venice Film Festival, proves her acting strength with her interpretation of the role.
The British Royal Family in "Spencer"
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the British royal family in "Spencer"? They are generally respected and loved by the people, and have a huge influence, but on the other hand, because every move is usually the focus of attention, under the high attention of paparazzi and the news media, the private lives and gossip of the royals often become the topic of discussion. How much pressure does this put on their lives? What are the challenges of being a member of the royal family and having such an aura?
At the beginning of 2020, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan officially announced their separation from the British royal family on social media platforms, causing an outcry. He decided to leave the royal family and move to Canada with his wife and children. What exactly did Prince Harry's mother go through that made he make this unprecedented decision? This is the theme of the entire Spencer film.
Princess Diana's Marriage
Princess Diana, played by Kristen Stewart in Spencer, was born in 1961 to the English aristocracy "Spencer", the third daughter of the family. The Spencer family has had close ties with the royal family for generations, and not only is former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, a distant relative, but Diana also married Prince Charles in 1981 and gave birth to two sons, William and Harry. However, the marriage, which was originally blessed by everyone, was shattered by Prince Charles' extra marital affair, and they eventually separated in 1992, ending in their divorce in 1996.
The movie "Spencer" is the story of Diana and Charles in the late stages of their marriage, after she found out that her husband was having an affair behind her back that Christmas. In accordance with past practice, the British royal family will gather at the manor house for a three-day holiday, leaving external affairs behind, taking the opportunity to enhance each other's feelings in every Christmas. However, this originally relaxing leisure time, because of the emotional conflict with her husband, which brought unbearable pain and suffering to Diana's body and soul .
The opening scene of "Spencer"
The opening scene of "Spencer" gives a complete account and description of Diana's character. Unlike the other royals who traveled in a motorcade to reunite with their families, Diana drove a convertible through the wilderness after a Christmas Eve charity event, unaccompanied by any servants, and checked a map to her estate by herself. She ended up getting lost on the way and went into a roadside restaurant to ask a customer for directions.
Since her engagement to Prince Charles in 1981, Princess Diana has become the most loved member of the British royal family because of her elegance and her high-profile charity work. Therefore, in addition to her dislike for her husband, Diana's desire for freedom and her desire not to be bound by the system also made her feel quite repulsed by the Christmas holiday that she had to spend with other members of the royal family.
The tragic story of Princess Diana
"Spencer" in the title "adapted from a real tragedy" instantly set the tone of the entire film. From the time Diana entering the manor, whether it was the strict rules set by the housekeeper, the schedule of activities in accordance with the prescribed time, or at the dinner table, the family deliberately ignored the indifferent gaze, even though Diana had two children to accompany. In the original circumstance was not particularly good and insecure state, emotional with the accumulated pressure had become increasingly unstable.
Diana is a very close to the society of the aristocratic girl. when she was young, hers dream was to become a dancer. She is passionate about public welfare. She did a lot of low-paid jobs. However, at the age of 20, she married into the royal family, and changed the family name. The life also changed. As presented in the film "Spencer", when to eat, and what kind of clothes should be worn, which are all taken care of by a special person. The life in surface is many people's dreams, but in fact this also makes her lose the original freedom.
Spencer's psychological pressure
As the object of imitation of all the girls at that time, Diana was beautiful and elegant, and always became the focus of the limelight and people's attention on various occasions. Although this state of being valued was seemed beautiful, but after the rumors of her husband Charles' affair broke out, these attentions, the press and journalists' fierce pursuit, also made Diana's inner vulnerability that could not be concealed. The main source of pressure that kept pushing her to the brink of collapse even though she tried to fight it.
Spencer's gorgeous set design and royal affluence are in stark contrast to Diana's inner turmoil. She longed to be loved, and cared, but not only did her husband have an affair, many of the servants around her were mostly just "perfect" and "No problem". Even when advice was given, it was only in the hope that Diana would behave "normally" and not ruin the image of the royal family. No one was able to try to understand, or because of the differences in position and class, they were unable to help.
Depiction of the character's state of mind in Spencer
Director Pablo Larrain's 2016 film "First Lady", which depicts the vulnerability and strength of U.S. The First Lady Jacqueline after the assassination of her husband Kennedy, won the Venice Film Festival's Best Screenplay Award. Now "Spencer" shifts the focus to Britain's Princess Diana, who seems to have everything going for her as a member of the royal family, but after the scandal broke out, not only did her every move become the topic of discussion after dinner, but there was no one around her to give her support or let her express her feelings, so that the audience can have a deeper understanding and appreciation of this character.
So I love the complete description of Spencer's Diana's confusion about her identity and her changing state of mind. Not only does Kristen Stewart's interpretation make us feel her inner confusion and anxiety, but the film also compares Diana with the 16th century Queen of England, Anne Boleyn through her tragic experience as the second wife of Henry VIII. She ended up being beheaded on trumped-up charges of adultery because her husband changed his heart.
Spenser's Criticism of the Royal Family
Some people may say after watching "Spenser": "If you want to wear a crown, you have to bear its weight." But like the Diana entering the house, is asked to sit on the weight machine. Each member of the royal family must gain 3 pounds before leaving the estate at the end of this Christmas holiday. Who decides the weight of the crown on Diana's head? And why can't we leave it up to each person to make their own adjustments?
Diana has been trying to live her life in the closed environment of the royal family since her marriage, but sadly, even though she has become one of the most popular princesses in the UK. In the eyes of other members of the royal family is only a troublemaker who can ruin her reputation at any time. It doesn't reflect the absurdity of an overly rigid system that cares more about the family's image than its psychological state?
The common between "Spencer" with Anita Mui
Although the subject matter and style are different, but Hong Kong "Anita Mui" and Britain's Princess Diana "Spencer", two biographical films released in the same slot have a considerable degree of common ground. In addition to the fact that they both depict the life story of a great woman, the films allow the audience to look at their inner vulnerability and confusion, and through these weaknesses that we may also have, they highlight the kindness and greatness of the woman who was able to pick herself up and make a contribution to society despite her hardships.
"Spencer" has many meaningful symbols and symbolic elements throughout the film, in addition to Anne Boleyn and the weight machine at the door, the "pearl necklace" around Diana's neck, and the "pheasants" that look beautiful but are not smart enough to be slaughtered by the royal family on Boxing Day hunting. It actually corresponds very clearly to Diana's state as a member of the royal family. A princess in the public eye who was restricted in every way and could not find an exit to escape from the low point of her life when she needed space most.
The Real Self of Spencer
So just as in the first part of Spencer, Diana does not realize that she is lost near her home until she finds the scarecrow that is full of memories. She watch her childhood Puck Manor that now become dilapidated. The memory of the little girl who used to run and play freely in it. Because of becoming a member of the royal family suffers from physical and mental destruction, but also let Diana finally find her's true essence lost over the years in the abandoned and decaying stairs because of the help of Anne Boleyn's vision.
From she rip off the pearl necklace given to her by her husband and break free from the shackles of marriage and royal status, to she go alone to the men's hunting spot the next morning to stop her still young sons William and Harry from participating in a senseless bloodbath. Just as the filmmakers changed the Chinese title from "Princess Diana" to "Spencer" before its release. The protagonist Diana, after regaining her original identity as "Spencer" before becoming a princess, leaves the cold, shivering manor. She bid defiance to the royal system that brings her so much oppression.
The meaning of the ending of "Spencer"
I love the final ending of Spencer. Here the director does not choose to explain Diana's life after her divorce from Prince Charles, but tellls she refuse to be a pheasant waiting to be shot by royal norms and media opinion. From she take her two sons away in front of everyone and drive around the country roads together in a convertible, to the three sit on the banks of the Thames, eating the KFC she buy from Drexel in Spencer's name in final. Additonally, the background with the Tower Bridge of London are for the "Spencer" to bring a lot of rhyme for the audience.
Perhaps the decision that the princess will divorce the prince at the end of "Spencer" is unbelievable, but Diana is still able to make a brave choice without knowing how her future will turn out. She can not only escape the pain and pursue freedom as her true self as Spencer, but also cherish the precious time. She can spend with her children as the mother of her two sons, which makes people quite moved.
Conclusion of "Spencer" Movie Review
On the whole, compared to biographical films that emphasize plotting such as Ais Hitller das rosa Kaninchen and I Am a Woman, the depth of the characters' psychology in Spencer makes it a relatively literary work. Kristen Stewart perfectly replicates the Princess Diana's charisma and inner vulnerability with the best performance, which makes people feel the warmth and positive energy from it while being sentimental. The director Pablo Larrain also uses another way like "The Shining". The character makes quite stunning results through the three days of Diana being locked in a haunted house for Christmas holidays, which is undoubtedly the highest level of a biographical film.