“Spencer” Brings Elegance and Gravity to Virginia Film Festival – The Cavalier Daily


Among the most anticipated films of the year, “Spencer” earned a gala slot at 8:30 p.m. Friday – pulling the curtain on day three of the Virginia Film Festival. Jody Kielbasa, vice-rector of arts at the university and director of VAFF, presented the film. U.Va. The Gamma Knife Center sponsored the screening of the film at the Paramount Theater.

Kristen Stewart stars alongside Jack Farthing in “Spencer” – the duo play Princess Diana and Prince Charles respectively. Jack Nielen plays the young Prince William in his film debut. Sally Hawkins plays Maggie, the Princess’s favorite companion and dresser, while Timothy Spall plays the imposing Major Alistar Gregory. Steven Knight, the mastermind behind the Netflix drama series “Peaky Blinders”, wrote the film.

With an acclaimed cast and crew, “Spencer” looks promising on paper. Still, the film exceeds expectations on screen. Stewart skillfully plays the late princess – she nails her accent and manners with precision. Her timid fluttering of the eyes and the comfort seen around her sons, William and Harry, throughout the film is reminiscent of Princess Diana’s shy demeanor and youthful spirit.

The film begins with a warning of sorts displayed on a black screen – it reads: “A fable of a true tragedy”. The phrase ultimately epitomizes “Spencer” in that while the plot elements are overstated, the events in Princess Diana’s life make up the arc of a tragedy. Her struggle to resist pressure from the monarchy to change is immortalized in Larraín’s film, accurately portraying the late princess as more human than a martyr.

Of course, the moments of lightness in the company of her sons or Maggie are overshadowed by the darker aspects of Princess Diana’s life. The film certainly doesn’t shy away from portraying his tumultuous marriage, eating disorder, or attempts to self-harm. Reimagining the fateful vacation spent at Sandringham, Larraín even takes liberties to demonstrate the growing desperation and paranoia of the late princess – in such a case, she swallows whole pearls from a pearl necklace Prince Charles gave her. with tablespoons of soup.

Surprisingly, Anne Boleyn – played by Amy Mason – enters the narrative under the pretext of Princess Diana’s own illusion. Larraín cleverly draws parallels between the two eminent women of British royal history. Both have been accused by their husbands of being unfaithful, although their husbands are actually cheating on them. Obviously, Anne Boleyn was beheaded at her husband’s request, and her repeated appearances and interactions with Princess Diana in the film foreshadow the death of the late princess and raise questions about the royal family’s involvement in it. ‘incident.

In addition, the score perfectly reflected the mood of the film. Tense scenes are exacerbated by intense violin music – for example, when the royals wait for Princess Diana, who is late again, to arrive for dinner. Additionally, William and Harry sing “All I Need Is a Miracle” by Mike and the Mechanics with their mother on their merry ride after escaping a pheasant hunting excursion.

Chilean director Larraín is no stranger to biographical cinema. Prior to directing “Spencer,” he directed the 2016 film “Jackie”, which follows Jackie Kennedy through the seven days following the traumatic murder of her husband. Likewise, “Spencer” follows Princess Diana over the three days spent at the Sandringham Estate during the Christmas holidays. In doing so, the film delves into Princess Diana’s inner psyche to analyze her eventual decision to leave the royal family.

Shot on location in Germany and the UK, the cinematography is quite breathtaking. Elegant palace scenes are balanced by serene shots of winding roads and moonlit fields, contrasting the excesses of royalty with the simplicity of nature. A warm filter covers the majority of the scenes, contradicting the cold rigidity with which Princess Diana is treated during her three-day stay at Sandringham. Even though the warm filter gives Sandringham a homely feel, it becomes clear that the estate is a far cry from the late Princess’s home, despite growing up next door.

The 34th annual Virginia Film Festival wrapped up on Sunday. Just in time for the holiday season, “Spencer” hits theaters on Friday, November 5th.


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