rogue’s review published on Letterboxd:
i'm gonna preface this by saying i am not a diehard princess diana fan nor am i someone who insists on biopics being 100% accurate. i think liberties should be taken if that means a story could be better told.
as a film about a princess stuck in a loveless marriage and abusive institution, SPENCER is a good film. as a biopic of princess diana, it's one of the most insulting movies i have ever seen. at the beginning, a title card informs us that it's 'a fable from a true tragedy' and the people involved with it called it a fictionalized version of a weekend in diana's life. in a mixture of real life elements and fictional things, we're presented w this portrait of a woman who has had it and wants out.
since the royal family is such an institution and with a mighty past, it's easy to wonder what might have happened in several moments of its history and the weekend we see presented in this movie is just an example of that. a lot of it is imagination: what did diana do? what did she feel? what if she had done smth different? what and what if.
because diana was an outsider who suffered at the hands of this institution and since she died in suspicious ways, her life is always going to be of interest. there's been so many biopics, documentaries, conspiracy theories, even a musical which dealt w her life and untimely death. to a degree, they're all more or less exploitative, but this might be one of the worst offenders.
SPENCER is an exercise in misery. it's oscar bait trash meant to make the viewer care w/o putting in the work. IF this had been a movie about a fictional princess, i would have enjoyed it because it is well done. but as a biopic (even or, better said, especially a fictionalized one), it's insulting. these people don't care about diana. they just want to milk her death for profit and awards.
but that's the problem w hollywood. every real person is intellectual property. it's easier to present this real life figure and to make the audience Feel smth than to craft smth from zero. why create a story with fictional characters when you can milk a real life person's death, a beloved icon, someone who Suffered, and not put in much work? you Know princess diana, but you don't Know a fictional character inspired by her. making a story w fictional characters is just not as easy as fictionalizing and tarnishing a real life figure's life. this isn't an homage, it's just an insulting way to beg for awards.
like superheroes and old franchises, real life figures (the more tragic, the better) are just ip. there's no respect and there's never been much, anyway, but it's only worse now. there's nothing honorific here, just horrific. rip princess diana, you apparently would have loved kfc.
(also, to quote a twt mutual, "kstew just opened her mouth and keira knightley imitation asmr just came out". i hated her performance.)