Read our Ryan’s review of this controversial royal biopic…
I admit that, going in, I didn’t think I was going to like this film. However, having liked Pablo Larraín’s Jackie, and having made my partner endure many, many films that she was not interested in at all, I thought I’d take one for the team.
I’m so glad I didn’t pay to see this film.
The film follows Diana at an unspecified Christmas time in the early 90s; Charles is openly cheating on her with Camilla, and Diana is struggling with her royal duties, an eating disorder, and some mental health problems.
I am not an expert on what happened to Diana. I’m also sure that what happens in this film is not what happened to her. While I’m sure that the royal family do have a rigid and uptight way of doing things, especially traditional events like Christmas, I don’t think the film gives us a good enough reason to dislike them like it wants us to.
The character of Diana is also unbearable. Every situation she is put in, she makes the worst decision possible. She’s been asked, for three days, to observe the traditions of the royal family at Christmas time. She has been given various dresses to wear for the various occasions but refuses to wear them. She’s asked to arrive at dinner before the Queen as a show of respect to her (soon to be ex) mother-in-law. She’s never on time. While watching Spencer, all I could think of was Adam Sandler’s character in Uncut Gems making poor decision after poor decision, except somehow this is worse because it’s supposed to be based on real events.
In what is probably the most bizarre part of the film, Diana is haunted by the ghost of Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn. It tries to parallel, unsuccessfully, the two women – both were married to royalty who were thrown away (metaphorically, in the case of Diana, physically in the case of Boleyn) when something better came along.
Things just seem to happen without rhyme or reason. At one point, Diana tells her new dresser (the person hired to ensure that she wears the clothes she’s supposed to wear) to leave the room because “I want to masturbate. And you can tell them all that too!”
Later on, her previous dresser admits her love for Diana. Then follows a five minute montage of them frolicking on the beach.
And, in the climactic scene of the film, she walks into the middle of a field where Charles and William are shooting pheasants, tells William that he doesn’t have to shoot pheasants any more, and then she, William, and Harry all go for a KFC (I wish I was joking here).
What I’m trying to say is that this film is a mess, and I don’t recommend it at all.