Pablo Larraín's Princess Diana Biopic, 'Spencer,' Is Rated R — Here's Why

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Nov. 4 2021, Published 3:36 p.m. ET

Spoiler alert: This article contains minor spoilers for Spencer.

Pablo Larraín's Princess Diana biopic, Spencer, officially hits theaters Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. As the anticipation for it continues to build and more people get to see the Kristen Stewart-led production, many questions are emerging about the film. Is it suitable for all audiences?

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If you thought this was a sweet holiday-season biopic, you'd be sorely mistaken. The content in the film forced the Motion Picture Association (MPA) to give Spencer an R rating, but why? Let's find out.

Kristen Stewart in 'Spencer'
Source: Neon
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Why is 'Spencer' rated R?

The MPA provides all film ratings for U.S. releases.

Per the MPA, Spencer is rated R for language. Typically, R ratings are given to content that includes adult material, such as adult activity, nudity, graphic violence, or drug abuse. Harsh language is among the criteria listed, but films can sometimes get away with a PG-13 rating while incorporating swear words.

Source: Twitter / MPA
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The film's "Parents Guide" section on its IMDb page also notes that instances of sex and nudity, violence and gore, alcohol and drugs, and profanity are mild. More specifically, there are "some scenes of gunfire violence in the context of hunting" and only "six uses of f--k."

Like we said before, plenty of PG-13 films include swearing, so why is Spencer rated R if there are fewer than 10 curse words spoken in the entire narrative? Well, here's why (light spoilers ahead).

The "Frightening and Intense Scenes" section under Spencer's "Parents Guide" has a moderate severity rating for sensitive topics. According to one viewer, "A character is seen from a brief view trying to slit her wrists with some blood visible."

Throughout her early life, Lady Diana struggled with bulimia and self-harm; however, the Princess of Wales announced that by the time she and Charles were experiencing relationship troubles, she had already defeated those battles.

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Kristen Stewart is garnering widespread critical acclaim for her portrayal as Princess Diana
Source: Neon

Critics and audiences are raving about 'Spencer.'

Those lucky enough to catch a screener of Spencer have nothing but positive things to say about the film.

There's been plenty of talk surrounding Kristen Stewart's portrayal of Lady Di since the premiere at the Venice International Film Festival. Various outlets, including Forbes, believe her performance might make the highly underrated actress eligible for an Academy Award.

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So far, the film stands at an 86 percent approval rate, and the Rotten Tomatoes critic consensus reads, "Spencer can frustrate with its idiosyncratic depiction of its subject's life, but Kristen Stewart's finely modulated performance anchors the film's flights of fancy."

Source: Twitter
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Kristen's career really kicked off with the mainstream but highly scrutinized Twilight franchise. She then moved on to become one of the indie film genre's darlings, and is now transitioning back into an epic leading lady.

After all the criticism she's faced in her career, we're ecstatic to see the recognition and appreciation she's receiving lately, and it seems her fanbase is as well.

One of her fans wrote on Twitter, "Oh wow??? 'Spencer' was absolutely phenomenal — seriously one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while. Kristen Stewart was dazzling. She’s coming for her Oscar."

Another supporter said, "Kristen Stewart is winning in absolute[ly] every aspect of her life right now, and I couldn’t be happier for her. — shine bright baby! Engaged and leading the Oscars polls, all around with #Spencer. HER MOMENT, WE LOVE YOU KRISTEN!"

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Source: Twitter

Even if Kristen doesn't win the Academy Award for Best Actress, she should be proud of all the hard work and dedication she put into the role. It's obvious Kristen put her heart and soul into portraying Princess Diana, and that's all a cinephile can ask for.

Spencer hits theaters on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021.

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