Spencer – a two hour mental breakdown

Aayushi Datta, News Editor

Princess Diana, is an iconic figure in the past that has inspired and motivated people all around the world. She was loved by all, and received a lot of appreciation for her character and personality. Spencer, released in 2021, focuses on the part of her life that portrays her lowest point. It stars Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana (the titular character).

The movie took over as an art film format instead of a commercial film. An art film is more independent & artististic and attracts an audience that is interested in these types of films. This made the movie’s focus more on Diana’s struggle and the pain she was going through instead of the unnecessary ways to make it entertaining. The movie’s sole focus was Diana’s mental health and how she moved on  in her life. With the help of complex characters and symbolism through objects, portrayal of the barriers Diana faced in reality were well executed. Although the movie kept the basic reality, it added a lot of dramatic elements, making it more fictional. 

Diana’s struggle with bulimia is a fact known to all. The scenes in the movie captured this part of her life very well. Although, for some, these scenes might seem disturbing, the fact that what was shown was reality cannot be ignored completely. The movie did a good job portraying her mental health and how broken she was after everything that happened. 

However, the movie lacked a lot overall. It seemed like a picturized version of a rhetorical situation, filled with allusions and symbolisms. The movie made a connection between Diana and Anne Boleyn, the queen of England from 1533-1536 who got beheaded for treason she didn’t commit. Which seemed unnecessary throughout the movie, excluding the end. The impact that it had on her made her seem insane to a certain extent, where she could actually imagine Anne Boleyn as herself. The connection was understandable but could have been avoided. 

Spencer only revolved around three to four days of Diana’s life and was not able to capture the essence of Diana being the “people’s princess.” Here, Diana was the opposite of what she stands for. She was portrayed to be rude and unpredictable, whereas in reality, she was a kind and well mannered person. The movie focused so much on showing her mental health that it made her seem mentally sick and also a little abnormal. Some of her behaviors throughout the movie felt enraging and irrelevant. Throughout the movie, Diana was on the edge of “cracking up” and was not really able to think carefully and logically. 

There were so many avoidable elements in the movie that seemed completely pointless. This included the maid, Maggie, played by Sally Hawkins, being in love with her. This fact had no connection to reality or the movie itself. When this fact was revealed, the only question that came to mind was ‘why?’ It made no difference to the movie script and was rather confusing as to the reason it was added.

The journey that she made to become Diana Spencer felt very long, boring, and tiresome. Stewart tried her best to capture Diana’s behavior and mannerisms, but lacked a little as the feeling of nervousness was clear on her face. She seemed more focused on her accent, which was sometimes hard to understand, that she could not  give her full attention to her acting. Yet, it was a good effort put in by her. Spencer was very disappointing as it failed to capture Princess Diana as a whole.