In the new film “Spencer”, Kristen Stewart stars as Princess Diana. The film goes through the royals’ Christmas weekend at Sandringham House in 1992, showing “a fable from a true tragedy,” according to Director Pablo Larraín.
“Spencer” is based on the true story of Diana, Princess of Wales, who passed away in a car accident in 1997. The film is full of iconic outfits Diana wore, but it also gives a real look into what Diana went through as an independent, rebellious member of the royal family.
With popular shows like “The Crown,” it can be hard not to compare the actresses that portray Princess Diana on screen. Kristen Stewart takes Diana’s character and completely immerses herself. Some have even described Stewarts’ performance to the closest they have seen to Diana in real life.
Princess Diana’s bodyguard, Ken Wharfe, told People Magazine, “Out of all the people who have played Diana over the past 10 years, she’s the closest to her.”
Wharfe added that Stewart “managed to perfect her mannerisms.” While Stewart perfected the Princess of Wales’ posture and gestures, the wardrobe was perfected by British costume designer Jacqueline Durran.
Opening scenes show Stewart in a head-to-toe Chanel plaid outfit, similar to the one she wore in France in 1988. Durran bases all of the outfits in the film on iconic looks throughout Diana’s life that Durran felt most accurately captured her character.
Durran shows parallels throughout major events in Diana’s life. For example, the Christmas Day outfit that Stweart wears to attend the Christmas church service is almost an exact replica of what Princess Diana wore on Christmas Day in 1993.
Director Pablo Larraín portrays Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles as strained. But unlike other historical dramas like “The Crown”, this film shows that at times, Charles was willing to find a middle ground with Diana.
One scene shows Diana running into the middle of a shooting range to get her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, and take them home. Charles agrees with Diana that their sons should get the chance to be kids.
“Spencer” also addresses the story of Prince Charles having an affair with Camilla Parker Bowels when it appears that Prince Charles has given Diana the same gift he gave Camilla.
Larraín provides a first-hand look into how dysfunctional family holidays can get, even if you are royal. Showing the audience that tradition runs deep and everyone wants to have “a bit of fun.”
Together, Stewart and Larraín come to tell the story of “the people’s princess”. Neither of them shies away from the complicated parts of Diana’s life, including her eating disorder, separation from Charles, or holidays with the royal family.
With “Spencer” already being selected for the Venice Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, many are expecting big things from the film.
Whispers of Stewart receiving an Oscar nomination have already begun. We’ll be patiently awaiting awards season to see if her performance made the cut.