Spencer (2021)

Baroque, magisterial, heterodoxical, axiomatic, gloomy, troglodytic, jazzy, haunting; posh experimental arthouse flick w. subtextual language & career KS performance beyond paparazzi lens to destabilize genre like Princess Diana did The British Royal Family. 9.2/10.

Plot Synopsis: The marriage between Princess Diana and Prince Charles has long since grown cold. Though rumors of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at the queen’s estate. There’s eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana knows the game, but this year: things will be profoundly different.

*Possible Spoilers Ahead*

Official CLC Review

God Save The Queen

The Crucible Of Social Change By The Television Age Begun Eroding The Public & Paparazzi’s Notions Of Privacy & Boundaries Of The Rich-And-Famous – In The U.K., Foremost Vexing The Monarchy & One Kind, Shy, Doe-Eyed Princess: Diana

Photograph Courtesy Of: NEON, FilmNation, & STXFilms

The British Royal Family was quite the tabloid press magnet in the late 1980’s. The crucible of social change brought forward by the television age had begun eroding the concept of privacy, and every aspect of the rich-and-famous’ lives were broadcast to households who now swore they were part of them. The mutual symbiosis U.K.’s monarchical pedigree had enjoyed for generations with a media they once exchanged communication outlets for readership with had become increasingly-invasive and virulent – only exacerbated by the public and paparazzi’s bizarre fascination with a kind, shy, doe-eyed princess they lusted after like wolves: Diana of Wales. One of the most famous women of the 20th century, Diana became a figure of tragedy, fashion, charity, and excision definitive of Britain’s 1900’s cultural zeitgeist. A biopic about the life of the ‘people’s princess’ postmortem – especially one highlighting the extreme controversy and drama of her actions in regards to the royal family and foundational nationalist belief in the monarchy it polarized – was going to be a difficult task.. but if there was a directorial choice, it was Chilean visionary Pablo Lorraín. A filmography previously exhibiting subgenre mastery/promise in 2016’s Oscar-nominated Jackie made him the perfect choice, and we’re happy to say he not only recaptured the magic, but overdelivered it. Baroque, magisterial, heterodoxical, axiomatic, gloomy, troglodytic, jazzy, and haunting, Spencer is a posh, moody experimental arthouse flick with subtextual language & symbolism exploring crux themes of fame, feminism, and freedom, remarkably avant-garde plot-construction prismatizing its protagonist’s full life through a vignetted lens of intimacy beyond the paparazzi’s lens and world news, & career K.S. performance easily crownable as the Best Actress Of 2021 – enough to destabilize the entire subgenre of historical drama/biopics like Princess Diana did The British Royal Family.

Modernizing The Monarchy

The Narrative Structure Evokes Inklings Of Citizen Kane – Re-Engineering Biopic Genre By Parachuting Viewers Into A Christmas Weekend W. Minimal Backstory/Exposition, Prismatizing Subject’s Entire Life By Lens

Photograph Courtesy Of: NEON, FilmNation, & STXFilms

What we love most about Spencer [besides the score, as we’ll get to later] is how perplexingly it manages to be simultaneously both avant-garde yet traditional in narrative structure, synergizing with its themes, protagonist, and raison-d’être. The film parachutes viewers directly into one holiday weekend with minimal exposition or backstory: a snapshot it sneakily uses as prismatic lens to analyze the entire life/psyche of one of the female icons of the 20th century through subtextual language and cues. This approach imbues Spencer with a freshness, idiosyncrasy, and freedom 10x beyond prototypical origin stories and by-the-number textbook narrative structure leadening the subgenre with docu-feel and boring historical accounts more suitable for a high-school lit class noontime siesta than popcorn theatrical experience we open our wallets to. Lorraín & co. said from the beginning they wanted to re-engineer the biopic, and this is about as cinematically challenging and difficult as it can be. The film opens in 1991 with Diana heading to Queen Elizabeth’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, England [the country house of royal favorite for the holidays dating back to the 1930’s]. The 72-hour period of the film’s weekend spans Christmas Eve, Christmas, and Boxing Day with a neverending processions of lavish feasts, formal wardrobe changes, and bizarre (archaic) traditions clutched onto since the days of Ancient England by a royalty pugnaciously refusing change – scheduled with military precision and stringency of attention to royal protocol. Amongst the filiopietistic practices include guests weighing themselves on antique scales upon arrival and departure with systematized gains as metrics for holiday enjoyment, formal black-tie dinners with table etiquette down to guests not sprinkling salt directly onto food, and 7x/day wardrobe changes.

A Dark Fairy Tale Born From Real Tragedy

After The Real Fairy-Tale ’80’s Wedding Of Diana & Charles Now With Two Sons, The Marriage Has Grown Cold – Exacerbated By Public Scrutinization, Extramarital Affairs, Psychological Distress, & Royalty Exhaustion

Photograph Courtesy Of: NEON, FilmNation, & STXFilms

The stringency, ludicrousness [like needing an inanimate scale to tell you if you had a good time], and oppressiveness of the rules highlight how pious & out-of-touch the royalty is with the subjects they govern, and make what is supposed to be a relaxing vacation in the happiest time of the year a pointlessly-miserable/masochistic one: the world’s most elegant prison for the lady of the hour, Princess Diana. Backstory is hinted at by the film’s peripherals; a decade after Diana and Charles’ fairytale ’80’s wedding now with dual sons: William and Henry, the marriage has grown cold – public scrutinization and extramarital affairs by both of them alongside a weariness of the royalty and psychological distress catalyzing the downward-spiral. The film evokes prestigious inklings of the Greatest Film Ever Made: Citizen Kane [obviously, not in the same pantheonic stratosphere, but narrative construction-wise] by how it comprehensively flips and breaks the rules & pre-established conventions of its genre/medium to surgically deconstruct and psychoanalyze its subject’s entire life through a keyhole: a dying word of Rosebud for CFK and three-day weekend of Christmas at Sandringham for Diana. This is achieved for the latter by employment of insane levels of subtextual language & symbolic complexity to define the eponymous woman of its events: pheasants, curtains, tenses, scarecrows, wild horses, insects, microscopes, currency, holy sandwiches, and soldiers. Tenses, scarecrows, wild horses, curtains, and soldiers symbolize how Diana views the royalty. At Sandringham, both Diana and her children lament at how slowly and unrealistically time runs there – not following the laws of physics, language, & temporal progression/differentiation of past, present, and future and instead negating the future while blending together a mix of past-and-now.

Time & A Psychotic Episode

At Sandringham, A Departure From The Laws Of Physics, Language, & Temporal Progression/Differentiation Of Past, Present, And Future; A Weekend Of Bulimia, Depression, Nightmares, & Suicide Attempts

Photograph Courtesy Of: NEON, FilmNation, & STXFilms

Wild horses symbolize how tamed, domesticated, and neutered Diana views her once-free stallion-like soul by the royalty – also synergizing with Major Gregory’s story by heartbreakingly connecting her anguish and duty with that of a solider like he was back in Belfast: suffering and questioning why they do it except for the oath they made to country [also thematically-invoked by the bird shooting and its loss-of-innocence for their children being ‘necessary’ despite the family’s oppositions because of ‘royal tradition’]. Curtains physically separate Diana from the outside world and suffocate her as the royalty does metaphorically. and scarecrow is the chef d’oeuvre symbol of the entire film. The crux of Spencer, scarecrows define both the narrative’s beginning-and-end to highlight the character-development of its protagonist across the film’s events and symbolize the spectral apparition of the monarchy – both invoking historical iconography/significance and flipping it entirely. The scarecrow symbolizes both Diana and The British Royal Family in modern world-renowned contexts, contrastively-juxtaposed and paradoxically. Scarecrow usage is commonly-understood to frighten away other animals from disturbing the crops in the fields they haunt; Diana views the royalty as the scarecrow keeping her away from her true self and everything she once was [both physically-guarding/punctuating her childhood home and metaphorically her memories], and The British Royal Family views Diana as the scarecrow keeping them away from the happy-go-lucky bubble of old traditions they want to stay daydreaming within. The paparazzi can be viewed as pests like the ones scarecrows are made to ward off, so in that alternative interpretation, Diana fails to be a proper allegorical scarecrow – instead, she does the opposite by attracting more of them. If that wasn’t enough symbolic complexity/depth, there’s another layer entirely.

Bugs Under A Microscope

The Major Theme Of Spencer: The Price Of Being Rich-And-Famous – Amplified By Royalty; Social & Fiscal Currency, Isolation, Lack Of Privacy, Double/Mythological Standards, Tabloids, Paparazzi, Etc. – From Opening Shot, Grass Not Always Greener?

Photograph Courtesy Of: NEON, FilmNation, & STXFilms

To farmers in historical/traditional contexts, scarecrows were far from the nightmarish, halloween-ready icons they’re viewed as today; they were meant to symbolize the death and resurrection of crops with the growing season. This double-meaning is what elevates Spencer to amongst the best films of 2021 and recent years – magnificently paralleling the character-development of Diana across the film’s events: from the dead, wintery, sad version of her previous existence killed by the royalty at the beginning to a reborn, free, happily-alive one in bloom by the end, replacing the old jacket of familial importance once worn by the scarecrow physically and herself metaphorically with her royal costume to drive home the symbolism with striking iconography. The construct and landscape dotting the periphery of the film’s events itself bring into play the major theme of Spencer: fame. ‘Maybe the grass isn’t always greener on the other side?’ is a question the script desperately wants us to weigh in the context of the rich-and-famous (only furthering the Kane parallels) from its first shot literally of grayscaled wintery grass and dead vegetation establishing tone and symbolism from the first shot [we’ll get to the cinematography later]. Diana – and a huge proportion of historical celebrities extrapolated beyond the royalty she symbolizes, only 10x further magnified by the Social Media Age – view themselves as insects under a microscope by the paparazzi and press. Highlighted is how the public views the rich-and-famous as mythological creatures and hold them – especially, women – to higher standards of moral/physical perfection: the price of fame and one with potential destructiveness to the mental health of the uninitiated/wide-eyed like Diana. There ‘have to be two versions of you’ to appease this behemoth of a press willing to chase you down in your car even to the danger or death [how Diana died, as we wish the film had at least mentioned by how tragically and powerfully it drives home the theme] or spy on you undressing in the window just for a scoop or tabloid-gossip column, again referencing curtains symbolically and physically: closing yourself off-and-on. Ironically, people with the fiscal resources to have the most freedom on the planet become victims of their own devices by the dual-edged sword of fame.

The Ocular Phantasmagoria

One Of The Most Off-Kilter, Batsh*t Crazy A/V Packages In Years; An Elegant Prison, Grayscale-Filtered Atmosphere Of Palpable Gloom, Nightmare Hallucinations, Anti-Yuletide Christmas, Contrastive Scale Juxtapositions, Vintage Graininess, Pans, & 16MM Spookiness On Level Of The Image

Photograph Courtesy Of: NEON, FilmNation, & STXFilms

The nihilistic, brutal lesson is quickly learned by Diana: people like her and the royalty are nothing but currency to the general public – both literal in the fact they put you on the 10-pound note and metaphorical by how transactionalized riches-and-fame are for the loss of freedom, privacy, and authenticity. The social isolation is harrowing – even people you think of as friends like Maggie backstabbing you and gossiping behind-closed-doors with slanderous accusations/postulances they’d never say to your face: a paradox and trade that introverts would love [being one of the palpable flaws of Spencer in how it does cry hard from a royal palace most people barely scraping by check-to-check would happily choose even withstanding the flaws for the chance to live within], but ill-fits extroverted does of innocence like Diana. The paparazzi lens is 10x magnified to the level of lab microscopes as its practitioners psychologically pull off legs and wings from their subjects with tweezers to see how much they can take while still practicing stoicism. The camera flash clicks overwhelmingly crescendo like gun shots – becoming literal in the pheasant-shooting in the background. Pheasants echo how Diana views herself and the royalty: birds bred to be shot, only by camera lenses instead of bullets nevertheless being targeted. The film also flips pheasants into a feminist metaphor: beautiful to look at by their colorful plumage and robust curvature with natural rights and skillsets, yet put down/killed by a society valuing them little beyond traditional contexts and bred purpose – even characterizing them as “not very bright” and roadkill-destined without the imbued raison-d’être ascribed by the patriarchy. Heck, the slang term for women in the film’s Britain setting is literally ‘birds’.

The Phantom Of Anne Boyelyn

A Parable Of Infidelity, Betrayal, Jealousy, Sacrifice, & The Impermanence Of Royalty; A Wild Horse Tamed And Domesticated, Separated From The World By Curtains And Forced To Duty For Country Like Soldiers; A Martyr Evolving Public View On Royalty

Photograph Courtesy Of: NEON, FilmNation, & STXFilms

Diana also exhibits jealousy and envy of the avians [twinged with sorrow] by how they’re able to wear the same outfit daily and given wings to fly away in freedom, yet tragically trapped like she is on these grounds. The end roadtrip to KFC also highlights another sad truth about birds like pheasants in general, being oftentimes bred solely to be killed for food: another major theme of Spencer. The many dishes of the holiday weekend – cooked by a staff punctuating the periphery of ~every frame but we never learn the identities of, purposely to portray how lonely the royalty is even with hundreds of physical bodies around – are described with extreme detail, down to every ingredients and names. The Holy Sandwiches not only take a jab at the old-and-tired traditions of the manor [plus highlight the toxic excess of the rich-and-famous by how much food goes to waste in these feasts], but bring into play how society pressures women imagistically to be slender, non-hysterical, and daintily eating like birds do – turning some, like Diana, tragically to unnatural acts like bulimia to keep figure. The heartbreaking recalcitrance with which Diana vomits any food she takes in, crunches pearls the size of mothballs, and avoids weighing herself or enjoying food until the end [finding more happiness in fast food than five-star michelin chef feasts] highlights Diana’s sideways mental health throughout the weekend – brought to life by a magnum opus performance by Kristen Stewart. Kristen Stewart has perplexed the world since her performance back the ignominious late 2000’s teen-vampire series launched a cringeworthy girls’ love contest of #TeamEdward vs. #TeamJacob: Twilight.

A Crux Metaphor: Scarecrows

Definitive Of Film’s Beginning & End To Punctuate Development/Growth, A Multi-Interpretative Symbol; Historical Contexts: The Death & Rebirth Of Diana, Modern Contexts: The Spectral Apparition Of Royalty Keeping Diana From Home/Self, & Diana Keeping Royalty From Tradition

Photograph Courtesy Of: NEON, FilmNation, & STXFilms

Despite the imbecilic nature of the laughable, LCD-panderative, exploitative premise even its own cast has since denounced from a position of shame, the franchise has gifted the world with two major indie kings/queens – Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. Perhaps driven by reverse psychology, they’ve now come forward in a renaissance of repentance to to give back everything they took from cinema 10x over, symbiotically proving they’re far more than just pretty blockbuster faces. Robert Pattinson has become an A24 legend putting in legwork enough to cement him as one of the best young actors in the world now: Good Time, Cosmopolis, The Lighthouse, High Life, Tenet, etc. The brooding indie energy and dark aura he gives off made him the perfect casting for a new reboot of The Batman too, already lighting the fandom and social media on fire by how perfect he is for the role – something anyone who suffered through the original Twilights would’ve recognized and can rejoice now finally being repurposed properly. K.S. is the yin to Pattinson’s yang – a purity for protagonism still temperamental with the inexplicably calmative, mysterious lakelike tranquility and dark, nihilistic edge of her costar finally getting her turn of resurgence/redemption. In fact, she might just – right or not, both of them at top performance – beat her Twilight castmate to The Academy Awards: something we never would’ve believed for either possible had you told us back on that fateful ’07 day leaving the a vampiric matinée. The precision with which she captures Diana Spencer is honestly scary: unmistakably the princess reincarnate, down to even the mannerisms and shyly coy smile she gave to reporters feeling like a deer in headlights.

The Holy Sandwiches

Food Dots Periphery Of ~Every Background: Deconstructing The Excess Of Riches And Women-Skewed Media Pressure For Body Perfection – Turning Many, Like Diana, To Eating Disorders, Even In Lavish Feasts

Photograph Courtesy Of: NEON, FilmNation, & STXFilms

This level of authenticity is of little surprise given the revelation Kristen’s preparation included rewatching hundreds of hours of archival/docu footage, also taking the role before even reading the script [a rare act in the industry] by how deeply-personal and likeminded she viewed her struggles with fame & depression. She even went full method and noticeably lost major weight to add to the realism of Diana’s bulimic disorders, and fine-tuned a ~perfect British accent it’s hard to imagine was unnatural. Kristen mixes her own best thespian attributes for maximum archetypization and layers of added depth: exhumes pure rage juxtaposed with lonely, isolated melancholy when called upon. This was perhaps the darkest weekend of Diana’s life – not only once, but 3x trying to commit suicide over the course of the 72 hours [cutting her wrists with wire cutters, eating a pearl whole, and [nearly] throwing herself down the stairs of her old home in the finale], and you can feel the existential crisis bloom from every fiber of her irises. This is, easily in CLC’s vote, the Best Actress Performance Of 2021 – a career-oeuvre of remarkably ambition and fearlessness heartbreakingly painting the free little girl caught in a snare of palatial opulence who just wanted to go home and a normal life. Brava. The other performances are fantastic as well: Timothy Spall’s sniveling, fogyish, pugnaciously-conservative Major Gregory, Sally Hawkins’ LGBTQ+ energized BFF/maiden Maggie, Sean Harris’ distraught-yet-loving Chef Darren, and Jack Farthing’s cold, icy, distant Charles leading the pack of otherwise-cameos of royalty like Princes William (Jack nielen) & Harry (Freddie Spry) and Queen Elizabeth (Stella Gonet).

Fashion, Pheasants, & Feminism

The Gunlike Cameras Of Paparazzi: Literal In Royal Sport – Hunting Pheasants Trapped On Grounds Like Diana Is, Flipped Into A Feminist Symbol: Beautiful W. Curvature & Natural Rights/Skillsets, Yet Subjugated And Killed By A Society Valuing Them Only In Traditional Contexts And Bred Purpose

Photograph Courtesy Of: NEON, FilmNation, & STXFilms

The fact that all of the events of the film really happened by firsthand accounts of Sandringham staff members favored over second-fiddle, after-the-fact biographies by the filmmakers imbues extreme realism into what easily could’ve been white-lied or fetishized – and the way the blanks are filled in with symbolism and metaphor to highlight the subtextual driving factors is brilliant. Besides the ones aforementioned, another major one is the palpable Anne Boleyn parallels. The cautionary, passive-aggressive intention of the reference by the family to scare Diana back into line [becoming yet another interpretable scarecrow] is flipped into a revelation of nirvana that both her and Boleyn were dutiful martyrs evolving English royalty in public/historical consciousness, betrayed by both family-and-crown before meeting tragic deaths. This is all brought to life by one of the most off-kilter, batsh*t crazy A/V packages we’ve ever had the luxury to experience: one that perfectly synergizes with its themes and narrative, led by a masterpiece score. The score of Spencer is easily the Best Of 2021 and might just be one of the best of the past few years. A character its own, we should’ve known it would be special and wildly avant-garde/experimental by the namedrop of the lead composer: the alt. rock guitar legend behind one of our favorite [and unanimously-recognized greatest] bands of all-time: Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood. Greenwood remarkably translates every atom of his acoustic and EQ talents to the big screen – a progression we’ve noticed back since 2016’s A Moon Shaped Pool saw the orchestrations of the man come into the forefront of band spotlight. Most royalty films are laden with prim-and-proper, strictly-classical waltzes and symphonies stuck in the 1700’s as much as Sandringham is: a snoozefest and now-clichéd sonic package we all-but-saw coming. We’re happy to say we were wrong.

Baroque x Jazz: The Best Score Of 2021

A Character Its Own, A Wildly Avant-Garde/Experimental Soundtrack By Alt. Rock Guitar Legend Jonny Greenwood Of Radiohead; Chopin-Like Melancholy, Violin Arpeggios, Kubrickian Pads/Diegetics Of Ghostly Wind, Ritzy Cymbal Taps, Trombone Solos, Church Organs, Etc.; A Free Jazz Cosmopolitan Mix Temperamental With Baroque Classical Waltzes; Royal Chaos

Photograph Courtesy Of: NEON, FilmNation, & STXFilms

The minor-key majesty ensorcels you from the very beginning: Chopin-like piano melancholy juxtaposed with nimbly-arpeggiated violin scales, uncomfortably amplified background diegetic noise contributing to aural spookiness by the oftentime-absence of sound beyond ghostly wind blows, luscious/ritzy cymbal taps, trombone solos, xylophonics, ominous pads out of a Kubrick film, and church organs. Camera flash-clicks are even used as instruments crescendoing with mezzo-forte accelerado into a halluciongenic drug-trip that almost sounds like a nightmare [purposely, being one for its protagonist it aptly emphasizes from timbre to atmopshere]. Free jazz is mixed into a cosmopolitan dreamscape tempered with baroque classical orchestration to sound vaguely royalty-like to the ear, but leave enough space for anarchy, chaos, and experimentalism far more wild, ambitious, and palate-complex than anything you’ll hear this year. The glum, desolate phantasmagoria swirls into an epic ’80’s glam rock singalong by Mike + The Mechanics in the ever-satisfying finale echoing Diana’s arc trajectory from woebegone desperation to blithe freedom. The visuals coincide and work in-tandem with the score from the opening shot’s grass, taking us through the flip side of the coin of royalty beyond paparazzi flashes. For what’s temporally a Christmas Movie, the film sure doesn’t feel like it – forgoing the green-and-red decorations, trees, ornaments, snow, bliss, and joy of the happiest time of the year into something darker. Claire Mathon [Portrait Of A Lady On Fire, again presumptively delivering masterpiece here work by her resumé alone] bathes the landscape in grayscale visual filters perfectly synergizing with and helping to establish its nihilistic and glum atmosphere – shooting in 16mm to evoke spookiness on the level of the image and employing a graininess that gives Spencer its own vintage feel & identity.

The Best Actress Of 2021

The Ignominious Late 2000’s Teen-Vampire Series, Redeemed By Repenting Indie Kings And Queens: Properly Repurposing Kristen Stewart’s Calmative, Mysterious Lakelike Tranquility Of Presence And Dark, Nihilistic Edge/Rage Into An Oscar Career-Oeuvre Capturing Diana S. With Surgical Precision

Photograph Courtesy Of: NEON, FilmNation, & STXFilms

The stark contrastive juxtaposition of the ocular palette is incredible – packed with visual metaphor in how warm natural light in the indoor scenes is balanced by foggy, overcast cloud atmospherics in the outdoor ones. Extreme close-ups of Stewart’s face capture her emotion and make us feel spiritually-intertwined, oppositioned by extreme longshots everpresently weaved throughout the film to establish the huge scale of the Xanaduian Sandringham, also working to relate us how alone Diana feels here comparatively. The staff members’ faces are noticeably obscured to further this visual isolationism, nary making a difference in he loneliness even when surrounded by husks of bodies as the camera horizontally-pans across entire fields of crops and the gardens of the royal palace with technical grace. The editing is just as impressive and precise, and the tiniest of details are beautifully geometrically-compositioned to parallel the stringency of rules, down to even the placement of pool balls on the table and books on the bookshelves of Sandringham. The Baroque qualities of the score carry over to cinematography; Spencer exemplifies the movement by using contrast, movement, exuberant detail, deep color, grandeur, and surprise to achieve awe. Of special note is the costume design we normally don’t attribute much extreme importance to, but here is one of the most pivotal pieces – not only by the royalty subject, bust especially Princess Diana. A fashion icon who frequently set trends the rest of the design world followed [high-low dressing, pastel daysuits, etc.], Diana needed a filmic counterpart to do her eye for clothing justice – and we get so by the 2x Oscar-winner Jacqueline Durran. Durran took inspiration from past wardrobe styles of the princess’ fancy, subatomically reimagining them without ever outright remaking an ensemble; she instead extrapolated and evoked aesthetics through richly-textured design choices: velvety plaids, deep tweeds, elegant nightgowns, vivid chromas, Dolce & Gabbana frames, etc.

The Dance Cliché

Flaws, Besides Royalty Whines Being Intangible To A General Populace Happily Dealing With Negatives To Live Like Kings And Queens, Are Limited To Its Clichéd, Ersatz, ~Cringeworthy, Joker-Copycat, Superfluous Oscars-Bait Dance Scene

Photograph Courtesy Of: NEON, FilmNation, & STXFilms

The finale sees the visual canvas mimic the acoustic one in paralleling the screenplay’s character-development: contrastively bringing the film full-circle by having Diana drive down the same road she did at the beginning, only this time with a natural visual scale, sunshine, and other people in the frame frolicking in gaiety/mirth with her children she finally reclaims along with her identity [symbolized by the reclamation of her birth surname of which the film highlights in importance through its title: Spencer]. Flaws – besides the royalty whines being ~intangible and condescending to a general populace who would happily deal with the negatives to live like kings and queens – are mostly limited to its dance scene. The ending of Spencer plays into the clichés the projects skillfully avoids for the vast majority of the film: trying to be Joker with a meaningless, far tackier, and faux-artsy number that just wreaks of the lingering suspicion we’re being sold Oscars bait the film doesn’t even need to merit consideration. Regardless, this minor gripe is a bump on the road Diana drives down in her Porsche at the beginning-and-end – easily one of the best films of the year. Baroque, magisterial, heterodoxical, axiomatic, gloomy, troglodytic, jazzy, and haunting, Spencer is a posh, moody experimental arthouse flick with subtextual language & symbolism exploring crux themes of fame, feminism, and freedom, remarkably avant-garde plot-construction prismatizing its protagonist’s full life through a vignetted lens of intimacy beyond the paparazzi’s lens and world news, & career K.S. performance easily crownable as the Best Actress Of 2021 – enough to destabilize the entire subgenre of historical drama/biopics like Princess Diana did The British Royal Family.

Official CLC Score: 9.2/10