“During her Christmas holidays with the royal family at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England, Diana Spencer, struggling with mental health problems, decides to end her decade-long marriage to Prince Charles.” -IMDB
For a deep dive into Spencer, please head over to Valley Girl Podcast to hear a complete breakdown!
MEH. Let me clarify…
That is my overwhelming feeling about this movie. But honestly, that’s more than I expected. I’ve never been quiet about my feelings regarding Kristen Stewart’s acting skills. As with Hayden Christiansen, I dislike acting styles that focus on an intense teenage angst. Hayden whines, Kristen furrows her brow and hair flips. However, I was willing to see this film because the trailer showed me more variety in KStew’s acting than I had ever seen in her previous work. And it ended up not being Kristen’s breathy acting (although trust me, it had its moments…), it was the general plot (if there was one) and tone of the film that ultimately confuses the hell out of me.
This weekend follows Princess Diana during one weekend in Sandringham, at which time she decides that she will pursue a divorce from Prince Charles. At least…I think that’s what happened. This movie felt like walking through a gallery, it was beautiful and steeped in symbolism, but that made a difficult watch. When visiting a gallery, the artists vision is left open to interpretation by the audience. And while movies can get away with that if there is only a hint of it, turning an entire film into an art piece made the it lag. I checked my watch multiple times.
Furthermore, even though the film starts by stating that this is a fictionalized account of what happened, that seemed like a cheap way of allowing the filmmakers to take all of the artistic license that they wanted. But when we’re dealing with one of the most famous figures in modern history, it is difficult to take those leaps without the audience taking the story as gospel. In doing this (and trust me, although I follow royal news, I am anti-monarchy all the way), it felt disrespectful to Diana. It seemed to insinuate that she was manic and undercut her real, demonstrated strength. And, aside from that, it was so steeped in odd and pretentious symbolism that it was ultimately just a snooze to watch.
All of that being said, I do have to give credit to KStew. As I said earlier, there were still moments of breathy hair flipping, but it seemed more true to the character. And the moment between Diana and her sons were the best I’ve seen of KStew. They were honest, light, and fresh. Those moments were much needed in this film.
Do I regret seeing this film? No. The acting was enjoyable to watch and the film was visually beautiful to look at. But would I watch it again? Also no. To be honest, I barely remember watching it the first time. And that’s the (royal) tea.
Rating: 5 out 10 Claire Bears
If you like this movie, you should also watch: The Crown, The Queen, The King’s Speech
Streaming: Available in Theaters
With: Kristen Stewart, Timothy Spall, Jack Nielsen, Freddie Spry
Directed By: Pablo Lorrain