At The Movies: ‘Spencer’ for hire
“Spencer” is an impressionistic view of the weekend that upset the royal applecart.
“Spencer” stars Kristen Stewart in an Oscar-worthy actress nominee performance as Diana, Princess of Wales.
The movie focuses on the Christmas holiday weekend in 1991 when Lady Di purportedly decided to leave her husband, Charles, Prince of Wales (Jack Farthing).
“Spencer” has the sense of a psychological-thriller. Diana is not thrilled to be at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate, a 20-000-acre tract in Norfolk, England, for Christmas festivities.
Diana drives to the affair in her Porsche turbo. She tools around and gets lost.
At the time, the marriage of Diana and Charles was strained because of his alleged affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles. Diana’s been married to Charles for 10 years. She’s had enough.
Pablo Larraín, who directed the excellent “Jackie” (2016) about JFK’s first lady, Jacqueline Kennedy (Natalie Portman, an Oscar actress nominee for the role), directs “Spencer” from a screenplay by Steven Knight.
Whereas “Jackie” was more straightforward in its story-telling, “Spencer” is anything but.
One of the telling scenes In “Spencer” is a royal dinner, with waiters in lockstep and no one taking a sip of the soup until Queen Elizabeth II (Stella Gonet). does. While one might wish to someday attend such a lavish event, after seeing this scene, one might wish otherwise. The scene is stifling, tension-filled and suffocating.
We see Diana’s imagination running wild, even to hallucinating seeing Anne Boleyn, second wife of English King Henry VIII, who had her beheaded. We’re spared that re-creation, but we do get inside Diana’s head.
It’s quite a head trip. Diana is presented as an emotionally-scarred, unstable, bulimic female. How much of this is accurate, I cannot tell you.
In “Spencer,” Diana comes off as a spoiled brat, unconcerned with anyone but herself, save her sons, Harry (Freddie Spry) and William (Jack Nielen).
Again, how much of this is factual, I don’t know. However, it makes for a gripping, disorienting, emotionally-charged movie.
Kristen Stewart is amazing and convincing in her portrayal of Diana. She conveys, in downcast look, sideways glances and clipped nervous speech cadence a troubled soul.
“Spencer,” as one would expect in a movie about the British Royals, is lavish in its art direction, production design, sets, props, costumes (Diana’s frocks are true to what she wore and are fabulous) and hair and makeup.
The score by Jonny Greenwood of radio head is brittle, fractured and brilliant. It encapsulates the shattered psyche of Lady Di.
Impressive in supporting roles are Timothy Spall (Alistair Gregory), a major who heads the Royals’ staff at the Queen’s castle; Sally Hawkins (Maggie), the Royal Dresser, and Sean Harris (Darren McGrady), the Royal Head Chef.
Look for several Oscar nominations for “Spencer,” most notably an Oscar actress nomination for Kristen Stewart as Lady Diana.
I wasn’t disappointed with “Spencer,” as much as put off by it. Our image of England’s Royal Family is yet again in tatters. The Royals, it seems, are just like any other family. They bicker. They disappoint. They make mistakes. The difference is they do it with a stiff upper lip.
If you’re a fan of Lady Di, Kristen Stewart, the tabloid headlines at the supermarket checkout counter, or “Downton Abbey,” the British “Masterpiece” TV show on PBS; the “Downton Abbey” feature movie (2019), and can’t wait for “Downton Abbey: A New Era,” set for release in March 2022, then “Spencer” is for you.
MPAA rated R (Restricted Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.) for some language; Genre: Run Time: 1 hr., 57 min. Distributed by Neon.
Credit Readers Anonymous:
“Spencer’ was filmed in Schloss Nordkirchen, Nordkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia; Schloss Marquardt, Marquardt, Potsdam, Brandenburg, and Dülmen, Germany, and Sandringham House, Sandringham, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom.
Theatrical Movie Box Office,
Nov. 26 - 28: “Encanto” animated itself to No. 1, opening with $27.2 million for the Thanksgiving Day holiday weekend and $40.5 million since opening Nov. 24 in 3,980 theaters, scaring “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” from its one-week No. 1 haunt, with $24,2 million, in 4,315 theaters, $87.5 million, two weeks, as “House of Gucci” opened at No. 3, with $14.4 million for the weekend and $22 million since opening Nov. 24 in 3,477 theaters.
4. “Eternals” dropped two places, $7.9 million, in 3,165 theaters, $150.7 million, four weeks. 5. “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City,” opening, $5.3 million, weekend, $8.5 million in 2,803 theaters since opening Nov. 24. 6. “Clifford the Big Red Dog” dropped three places, $5 million in 3,292 theaters, $43 million, three weeks. 7. “King Richard” dropped three places, $3.2 million, in 3,302 theaters, $11.3 million, two weeks. 8. “Dune” dropped three places, $2 million, in 1,266 theaters, $102.1 million, six weeks. 9. “No Time to Die” dropped two places, $1.7 million, in 1,342 theaters, $158 million, eight weeks. 10.”Venom: Let There Be Carnage” dropped four places, $1.5 million, in 1,537 theaters, $209.5 million, nine weeks.
Box office information from Box Office Mojo as of Nov. 28 is subject to change.
At The Movies:
“Spencer” was seen at the Movie Tavern Trexlertown.
R: Nathalie Biancheri directs Lily-Rose Depp, George MacKay, Paddy Considine and Martin McCann in the Mystery Thriller. A boy believes he’s a wolf.
No MPAA rating: Camille Griffin directs Annabelle Wallis, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode and Lily-Rose Depp in the Comedy Horror film. Lily-Rose Depp, a daughter of actor Johnny Depp and singer Vanessa Paradis, is in demand. In this film, a Christmas dinner gathering is not so inviting.
“‘Twas the Night,”
No MPAA rating: Chris Rodriguez and Grant Rosado direct Nicole Pringle, David S. Perez, Paul Van Scott and Lisa Panagopoulos in the Comedy Thriller. A couple invites their in-laws for Christmas dinner, but must dispose of an uninvited, someone who died. Lily-Rose Depp is not in this film.
Movie box office opening information from Internet Movie Database as of Nov. 28 is subject to change.
Three Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes