FILM REVIEW | Spencer

There have been few people more widely known and beloved across the world than Lady Diana Spencer.

The 'people's princess' was an icon of grace and class, but also separate from the artifice of the rest of the royals.

It is this struggle between the 'real' Diana and the one she has to pretend to be for her royal family that forms the basis of new film Spencer.

The film, from Jackie director Pablo Larrain, takes place over a three-day Christmas break with the royals at Sandringham in 1991.

It is not a biopic or slice of real life, but a 'fable', inspired and informed by real stories from staff and Diana's own interviews.

Trapped: Kristen Stewart as then-princess Diana in the new 'fable' Spencer, rated M, in cinemas now. Picture: FilmNation Entertainment

Trapped: Kristen Stewart as then-princess Diana in the new 'fable' Spencer, rated M, in cinemas now. Picture: FilmNation Entertainment

There's little in the way of actual plot, with Spencer serving more as a character study of a very trapped, anxious, overwhelmed and underloved woman.

Kristen Stewart (Twilight) plays Diana surprisingly well. Stewart, usually known for her awkward, fidgety acting style, transforms that energy into an anxiety-ridden performance. She also manages the accent quite well, rarely, if ever, slipping up.

What comes through so strongly is the complete suffocation Diana feels as a member of this family, an inability to just act like a human and let her guard down.

If she's not being relentlessly photographed and reported on in the press, she's being watched by the household staff, who have been tasked to report back any strange (deemed not royally suitable) behaviour.

With a soft focus and little to no close-ups of other characters, Spencer feels like a fever dream. Probably not the best for people who like their films driven by story.

Rating: 6/10

This story Spencer film review: Portrait of a Lady feeling trapped first appeared on Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser.