Spencer: Showing The Darker Side of UK’s Royal Family
By Benjamin Turner
Over the years there have been many biographies trying to capture the life of the late Princess Diana on the big screen, with movies such as The Queen (2006), and Diana (2013).
Spencer was released November 4th of this year, directed by Pablo Lerrain, most known for his Oscar-nominee film Jackie released in 2016.
At first, Spencer seems to be just another movie writing the same story about the People’s Princess, trying to get a quick buck, however, this is not the case.
Spencer is set across three days, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day (the day after Christmas)- In 1991, at the Royal Family’s Sandringham Estate, which is where Princess Diana was believed to have taken the decision to end her marriage to Prince Charles after arguments and suspicion of Prince Charles having an affair with another woman.
The film does not glorify Diana as other movies do, it brings her down to a more relatable character, just a Woman trying to break free of the expectations and rules set for her that restrain her.
The movie tackles the mental issues that Diana was going through during this time, going against the popular notion that Princess Diana was flawless and perfect. The movie is a dark one, which is a refreshing reflection of the UK’s Royal Family.
Diana is pictured as vulnerable and helpless throughout the movie, like a bird in a cage that she cannot get out of.
The movie also highlights the struggles that both Diana and Charles had in terms of their children, William and Harry who have a closer bond with their mother as she is less demanding and free going than Charles.
The Royal Family in this movie is portrayed as uncaring and condescending. The film references several points throughout that it is cold, like when Diana and the children complain about the cold temperature of the Sandringham House.
This is to resemble Diana’s growing alienation from the Royal Family, with a divorce on the horizon. Larrain makes the audience want to empathize with Diana, which is beautifully done.
Diana’s mental struggles climax at the Sandringham House on Christmas day, as she is seen struggling with bulimia, seeing an apparition, harming herself, and struggling to come to terms with the inevitable divorce she will have to go through with.
The music and scenery with this make Diana feel like she is in a prison, trapped both Mentally and Physically when she should be celebrating a holiday with her family.
Camera work done in this film was impeccable, with closeups to show a fit of growing anger in the Royal Family, the shaky cameras to make the viewer on the edge, and uncomfortable close-ups.
Overall, the movie is something different, especially the over-saturation notion that Princess Diana was perfection and her relationship with the Royal Family was nothing to worry about. Pablo Lerrain perfectly brings the People’s Princess down to a woman that is clawing to get some familiarity and comfort away from the pressure given by the Royal Family.
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