As more and more people get to see director Pablo Larraín’s newest work, Spencer, many questions are arising about the veracity of the film. While any film is valid as a piece of art, this film draws on the real-life experiences of the late Princess Diana. The film follows the four-day period in which Diana and Prince Charles’ marriage fell apart in 1991 but takes its own creative liberties.
Pablo himself calls Spencer “a fable from a true tragedy” instead of a biopic, so it’s not like the film itself is claiming to be an accurate telling of Princess Diana’s life. However, when basing any story off of a real person, especially one with so much mystery and conspiracy entangled in their identity, the story must come from some sort of truth. But how accurate is Spencer?
Diana’s inner circle says that ‘Spencer’ is completely inaccurate.
In Spencer, we see Diana struggle with bulimia and self-harm. However, according to Diana herself, she had mostly overcome those struggles by the time that she and Charles were going through turmoil. By 1991, Diana was embracing her strength and sporting her iconic “sleek crop” hairdo, which we don’t see in Spencer.
The hairdresser who fashioned Diana’s iconic hairdo, Sam McKnight, revealed to The Telegraph that Diana was “disarming.” He painted a picture, “She was charming, funny and really normal — that was a huge part of her attraction. It was never in a fake way.”
Unlike the “victim” portrait painted in Spencer, Diana was someone who was fully in control of who she was, even while dealing with her well-known mental health struggles.
Ingrid Seward, who also knew Diana, said regarding the film, “That Christmas she was there with Fergie, she was pretty miserable and she wasn’t speaking to Charles, but she wasn’t cutting herself at that stage. They’ve piled every bad thing into one weekend which is taking poetic license a little far. … I don’t think Diana saw herself as a victim at all.”
“She would not want to be remembered as someone who was destructive towards the monarchy,” Ingrid revealed. “She said to me that the monarchy was her sons’ future so she would never try to destroy it. She would be very sad that people think she and Charles never loved each other. That wasn’t true. She’d be horrified at the way she’s portrayed now.”
There is truth in Kristen Stewart’s portrayal of Diana in ‘Spencer.’
Despite critiques from Diana’s inner circle, most people between Diana’s friends and critics agree that Kristen Stewart’s portrayal of Diana is surprisingly accurate. Pablo explained, “Once [Kristen] was confident with the accent and all the sort of practical verbal issues, she became a poetic combination of herself and Diana.”
Regardless of all its flaws and inaccuracies, Kristen seems to be the shining beam of light in Spencer. “The 31-year-old Stewart … navigates this perilous terrain with total mastery, getting the voice and mannerisms just right but vamping everything up just a notch, in order to better lean into the film’s melodramatic, paranoiac, and absurdist swerves,” Robbie Collin wrote in his review for The Telegraph.
So if we can take the truth of Spencer with a grain of salt, and can just enjoy it as a fable based on a real person, it seems well worth catching Kristen’s performance.
Spencer will be widely available in theaters on Nov. 5.