Kristen Stewart has come a long way from Bella Swan in the Twilight franchise, all the way to the Princess of Wales.

Stewart’s performance as Princess Diana in this piece of historical fiction, which looks at her decision to end her marriage to Prince Charles is haunting, at times frightening and sad. The fictionalized account places Diana with the rest of the Royal Family at Christmas holiday at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England.

We see a rebellious Diana, going out of her way to not follow instructions from the people around her. We see a depressed Diana, who is clearly saddened and suffering from Prince Charles (Jack Farthing) and his poorly hidden affair. We see a physically challenged Diana who is forcing herself to regurgitate the meals she has eaten. And we see a mentally challenged Diana who is having hallucinations of Anne Boleyn (Amy Manson).

Kristen Stewart brings a realism to all these circumstances as we see the declining star who was Princess Diana. She is so believable as the iconic princess that she carries the entire production.

This is not a biopic so if you are coming into the picture with expectations of learning more about the last years of Diana’s life, you will be disappointed. This is more of a teardown of the way the Royal Family is treated and handled, presenting a challenge for those who have come from outside in. The schedules of everything from exactly what to wear to where you should be to what you are expected to do makes for a very difficult life and one that brought feelings of claustrophobia and isolation to this Diana.

There was a scene in a car at the end of the movie, which I will not spoil, that cause me to roll my eyes, but the rest of Spencer was a powerful portrait of what the demands of a world watching can do to a person, especially when you lack the support or the confidence to do what you have to do.

Kristen Stewart should be remembered around Academy Award nominations as she is exceptional here.

3.8 stars

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