Pablo Larraín’s sublime ‘fable from a true story’ imagines a Christmas weekend at Sandringham in the early 1990s, as an unhappy Princess Diana contemplates saying ‘no’.
Screening across the UK: This film is also screening at Chapter Cardiff, Edinburgh Filmhouse, Glasgow Film Theatre, Showroom Cinema Sheffield, Tyneside Cinema Newcastle, Warwick Arts Centre, Queen’s Film Theatre Belfast, Watershed Bristol, Broadway Nottingham. Visit our partner venues’ websites to search performances and book tickets.
This film has been certified 12A.
Juan de Dios Larraín, Jonas Dornbach, Paul Webster, Pablo Larraín, Janine Jackowski, Maren Ade
Kristen Stewart, Timothy Spall, Jack Farthing, Sean Harris, Sally Hawkins
UK-Germany 2021. 111min
As played with intoxicating perfection by Kristen Stewart, who dominates almost every scene of Spencer, Diana is dying on the vine, showing only flashes of her former effervescence. Hers is the world’s most scrutinised persona since she began living the fairy-tale life of a girl who grew up to marry a prince; in reality, her husband rather publicly loves someone else. She’s also suffocating under the expectations of total subservience to Royal protocol. Working from a beautiful script by Steven Knight, Larraín (Jackie) ingeniously depicts a world in which every polished spoon and heavy curtain, every steely stare from staff, even a seemingly ‘jolly’ Christmas tradition, expresses Her Majesty’s disapproval of the young princess. The exquisite craft of Spencer makes you want to freeze every moment. director of photography Claire Mathon (Portrait of a Lady on Fire) shoots in 4:3 ratio with a micro-universe of colour emerging from the muted environments designed by Guy Hendrix Dyas. And Jonny Greenwood, with one of several great scores at LFF 2021, illuminates Diana’s internal tussle with solo piano and strings. It’s oppressive, until it isn’t anymore. Stewart and Larraín deliver a finale that will break your heart and make it skip all at once.
Tickets from £10 (£5 for 25 & Under) for all Gala and Special Presentation screenings at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall.
The screenings on Thursday 7 and Friday 8 October will be presented with an audio-description soundtrack for customers who are blind or partially-sighted. Headphones are available on request.
The screening on Friday 8 October will be presented with closed captions for customers who are D/deaf or hard of hearing.
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