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Cake's Takes on Spencer (Movie Review), (2021)

Caila went to Meremac-STL for journalism and has been writing for most of her life.

The theatrical release and promotional picture used for the movie, Spencer.

The theatrical release and promotional picture used for the movie, Spencer.

Spencer Movie Poll (2021)

Lady Di

Ever since I familiarized myself with the tragic life story of Princess Diana, I have loved her. She seemed such a good person, with a good heart to match who always seemed to end up in a bad situation. I have watched interviews, scoured the internet for videos and footage of her, and I have read books based on her or that she had a hand in. What resonates with me most about Diana is that she never seemed to be happy for very long in her life. The most tragic and sad part of her life is what hit home the most for me. It's very relatable and endearing. She was very flawed due to circumstance but had such a vulnerability to her that made you want to know more about her. This movie had me interested from the first moment I had heard about it. Once Kristen Stewart was cast, I was cautious from that moment onward, but I kept an open-mind about it.

Diana vs Herself

A side-by-side picture comparison of Princess Diana and Kristen Stewart.

A side-by-side picture comparison of Princess Diana and Kristen Stewart.

Portrayals

In this film, Princess Diana is at one of the heights of her fame. She is one of the most photographed women in the world, has countless adoring fans, is married into the Establishment that is the Crown and has 2 boys she loves who are Princes to the throne. By this point in life, Diana was at a low in her life. While hugely famous, she was immensely depressed. Knowing she was being cheated on by her husband and his infamous love interest throughout his life, her marriage in shambles, and her mental health failing her due to all of the stress.

The film really captures Diana's mental, emotional and psychological troubles very well. Her angst is very obvious to the point where people think she may be going crazy. You can tell through her interactions with people she just wants to latch on to anything that is real. The Royal Family does nothing to help, aside from making small attempts at giving advice via vague metaphors and analogies to calm Diana down here and there. While again, to me, the Establishment looks to be more of a villain than anything, everyone in the Royal Family is simply used to living their lives being this way, while Diana is not.

Prince Charles is a good villain in this film as well. He's an easy target being that he cheated on his wife. This movie, however, does nothing to make him redeemable in the eyes of the viewer. He was just kinda scummy and uncaring for anyone but himself, which made Diana's behavior even more erratic in the film. Her behavior borderlines craziness sometimes which makes me wonder how much of this is made up or based on rumored stories in the Palace.

Love Gone

Diana and Charles sitting together with their love long lost.

Diana and Charles sitting together with their love long lost.

Music

Part of the movie that surprised me with how good it was, was the music in this film. It ranged from operatic climaxes to low tunes of jazz to ballet music at times. Each scene the music was used for was either really effective or really distracting. Sometimes, the music lent itself to the movie very well to express how crazed Diana felt, and it made the hairs on your neck stand up. Other times, it was simply just loud and obnoxious. Diana's panic attacks, her conversations with people and how they made her feel and her issues with her eating disorder are all displayed very well with music. While I have more praises for the music than I do faults, I felt like the movie did a great job utilizing the music in a way that served the film and the viewer.

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The Crush

Diana and the woman who has fallen in love with her, being her dresser over the years.

Diana and the woman who has fallen in love with her, being her dresser over the years.

Faults

The obnoxiousness of the music is a fault for me sometimes, but it can be brought up a peg for how it contributes to the film overall. It cannot make up for the weird subplots in this film, though. Throughout the film, Diana tells anyone who'll listen about how she has been studying and comparing herself to Anne Boleyn, a Queen who was beheaded by her King for adultery and not producing an heir to the throne, when it was actually, he who was being adulterous in their marriage and insecure of her. While I see the parallels in their stories, I do not feel that this storyline/history lesson was needed. Maybe one iteration of it, just for the comparisons, but it was throughout the entire film, where Diana was having visions of Anna Boleyn everywhere, further making her seem insane, even to the viewer.

There is also another side plot of one of Diana's dressers falling in love with her after she is kicked out of the Palace for being too close with Diana as a friend. Not only was it not foreshadowed in any way that I saw, but it also made it awkward and weird after that because it did not seem authentic. It would have been more effective to just see two friends who understood each other and were connected by chance because of the Crown. While, yes, the dresser did play a role in maintaining Diana's sanity and her clothes, I think the love interest subplot was completely irrelevant, served no purpose to the overall storyline at hand and brought the film's ending down a bit for me, as it felt very out of left field.

Heartwarming Moments

A quiet room with Diana and her children enjoying each other's company.

A quiet room with Diana and her children enjoying each other's company.

Final Thoughts...

By the end of the movie, you see how much Diana only wanted to be free with her own mind, her own will and her own life. They portray that part of her so well. They show the family as such people who know their roles and what they were born for and Diana as more of a force coming to change that in this film. You really get the feeling while watching that Diana had nowhere to go and nothing to do but follow the rules when all she wanted was to be herself and just do fun things with her children and be a human.

The movie, overall, is actually a really good watch if you're interested in Lady Diana and her life inside the palace although it is dramatized. It does give you a peek into what her daily life was like. Her moments of fleeting happiness are relatable, and her feelings of sadness is so apparent and strong. Kristen Stewart played the role of Princess Diana fabulously. She gave it the same appeal that the actual Lady had herself. Vulnerability, relatability, sensitivity, strength, beauty and courage. I'd say she is definitely in the running for a Best Actress nominee for the Oscar's in 2022. If you like a bit of drama, independent style films, and Lady Diana Spencer, then this IS the movie for you!

Actors, Actresses and Production!

The actors, actresses, production teams and companies that went into making the independent film, Spencer.

Actors/ActressesProduction TeamsProduction Companies

Kristen Stewart

Pablo Larrain (Director)

Komplizen Film (Production Company)

Timothy Spall

Steven Knight (Writer)

Fabula (Production Company)

Jack Farthing

Juan de Dios Larrain (Producer)

Shoebox Films (Production Company)

Sean Harris

Jonas Dornbach (Producer)

FilmNation Entertainment (Production Company)

Sally Hawkins

Paul Webster (Producer)

Neon (Distrubution Company)

Janine Jackowski (Producer)

Topic Studios (Distribution Company)

Maren Ade (Producer)

STX Films (Distribution Company)

Claire Mathon (Cinematography)

Sebastian Sepulveda (Editor)

Jonny Greenwood (Music)

Money, Money, MONEY!!!

As of now, the film has not grossed back what the budget was. The budget was around $18 million and so far, it has only grossed around $15 million. This is still successful, yes, but it's not great for an independent movie to not get back what it cost to make it. However, I think this film will do well eventually with sales of DVD's and streaming platforms for renting and owning first, so maybe they have a chance to get back more of the money they lost in making the film.

This movie is a... Gem.

Where You Can Watch...

  • Watch Spencer | Prime Video
    The marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles has long since grown cold. Though rumors of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at the Queen's Sandringham Estate. But this year, things will be different!

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