Updated: Nov 15
By Morgan Cole
“Spencer” isn’t just a bad movie, it’s discourteous and insulting to Princess Diana’s memory.
I have never in my life walked out of a movie theater before the end of a film. However, I strongly considered leaving the theater in the middle of this movie; the only reason I didn’t was because I knew that I was writing a review and needed to watch the entirety of the film.
This movie portrays Diana as ungrateful, insane and an unfit mother to her children. Diana was none of those things. Diana was warm and caring and put her kids before anyone else. They called her “The People’s Princess” for a reason. She was unlike any royal the world had ever encountered. She had a relatability to her. She wasn’t just a pretty face on a TV screen, she went out and talked to the people and actually cared about what they had to say. She was ours.
The film follows Diana during a Christmas holiday with the royal family. This movie was not based on any real historical event, although Diana obviously did spend many holidays with the royal family.
In the film, Diana is facing many mental struggles like a severe eating disorder and depression. These mental health struggles are something that Diana was known to have dealt with in real life, though it is debatable whether or not this movie portrays it authentically. It is also important to note that there was no trigger warning given before the film. So, I will take the step that the movie creators so carelessly refrained from doing and warn you that this movie contains graphic scenes of bulimia and self-harm.
Princess Diana is played by the well-known American actress Kristen Stewart. I point out the fact that she is an American actress because Diana was born and raised in England, so Stewart had to fake a British accent – and boy was it noticeable that Stewart was faking the accent.
It’s nothing personal to Stewart that I think this casting choice was horrible. I don’t think that even the best American actress could pull off this role. Diana has a very specific British accent, even British actresses have a hard time mimicking Diana’s voice. Emma Corrin, who played Diana in the Netflix show “The Crown,” talked extensively about the time and effort she put in trying to perfect Diana’s accent in an interview with Variety. This is why I was shocked and disappointed to learn that “Spencer” had cast an American to play Diana.
With that being said, Stewart did better than I thought she would do. Although, I must admit that I had very, very low expectations in her in her acting ability before seeing the film. She wasn’t terrible. You could see that she was Diana, but I would mostly attribute that to the amazing hair and makeup team and costume designers. However, I was still seeing Stewart on the screen and not Diana. Stewart has certain mannerisms that she does while acting in every single one of her roles, like the odd, smirky facial expressions and the way she flicks her hands out when she’s trying to act nervous. Those tics completely removed me from the movie, and all I could see was Stewart on the screen in a Princess Diana costume.
The acting was not the only problematic part about this film. The script and the entire plot of the movie was inaccurate. Diana did have breakdowns in real life – several of them. However, most of these breakdowns were warranted and understandable. Diana would never, in my opinion, have a mental breakdown over the dress she is being asked to wear to a family dinner, as she does in the movie. Diana’s breakdowns, in real life, were usually related to her husband’s ongoing affair or his general mistreatment of her. The episodes that Diana has in the film make her out to be a dramatic woman who is ungrateful for the lavish life she lives.
If I could, I would beg every person in the world to not see this film. “Spencer” broadcasted a false narrative about a real-life person. A beautiful, caring person who has two sons who are still alive. Two sons who were only children when their mother was ripped away from their lives. Two sons who could watch this movie and see their mother depicted as an insufficient mother to them. For the sake of them, Prince William and Prince Harry, I would ask everyone behind the making of this film: Why? Why did you have to take the memory of their mother and ruin it?
The People’s Princess always has and always will deserve better.
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Cover Photo from US Weekly