Spencer (2021) Review

During Christmas 1991 at Sandringham estate Princess Diana is struggling to hold everything together as her marriage is unravelling.


Spencer is one of those films that you feel like you have been waiting a very long time to watch, as the trailer really was attached to every single film going. That therefore builds up the longing to watch it and the thing is having now watched the full film it doesn’t actually have much else going for it from watching the trailer.

The events in the film are supposed to take place over a couple of days as we approach Christmas Day, with Diana really struggling to keep up appearances with the pressure of the Royal Family and her constantly being in the public eye. Although according to this story she also hates being trapped and alone when with them all. Struggling to constantly hold back the tears even when spending time with William and Harry.

My biggest issue with the film is that no one would ever know how much if it could even possibly be true, nothing in it is based on fact the only thing you can give it is that she was at Sandringham during the Christmas period. The main characters she interacts with are completely made up Major Alistar Gregory and Maggie her dresser. Finding that out after watching the film left me with pretty much nothing, as I was thinking well at least she had that friendship with Maggie, oh Maggie doesn’t exist at all.

The thing is I know (obviously) that films that are even based on real and true stories fabricate the truth and add things in, Spencer however is just all make believe and made up. Which I wouldn’t have an issue with if they then managed to actually have Diana in a good light instead of making her look like a pathetic weak woman who was going crazy. Surely in 2021 (or prior when the film was made) we can make mental health struggles come across in a more real and relatable manner? For me it felt an insult to her memory and her tragic early death will forever hit home hard.

I found the score very distracting from the opening scene and felt as though it was way too loud at times and di not fit in very well with what was unfolding. Albeit not much was actually unfolding so I guess that was a vicious circle, I actually really enjoyed Jackie which was done in a very similar style to this film but this one was just lacking so much. Maybe my knowledge about Princess Diana made me more aware of different events and situations compared to lack of knowledge around Jackie?

At times though it did look fantastic and the Sandringham estate looked wonderful with the vivid colours used and outdoor scenes really having the December feel which at least set the scene very nicely. Kristen Stewart does need some credit for her transformation, however with the buzz surrounding her performance I am sure a lot of people will be left wondering was that it? Timothy Spall and Sally Hawkins were absolute scene stealers though and kept me engaged more than anything else.

I am extremely interested to how this is going to be perceived by the general public and not critics who have already seen the film as I don’t imagine it will be that well received within the UK.

Princess Diana’s legacy and memory deserved better than this film.

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