Spencer Movie Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

“Spencer” is a loose fantasy about how the British royal family spends their time at Christmas. The focus is on the wife of the Prince of Wales, played by American actress Kristen Stewart. Princess Diana can no longer follow the rules and follow the traditions, pretending that she is glad to be in an old manor in the company of strangers to her.

“Spenser” / Spencer

Drama genre
Directed by Pablo Larrain
Cast: Kristen Stewart (Princess Diana), Jack Farthing (Charles, Prince of Wales), Sean Harris (Darren McGrady), Sally Hawkins (Maggie), Timothy Spall (Alastair Gregory), Richard Sammel (Philip, Duke of Edinburgh), Stella Gonet (Elizabeth II), Oriana Gordon (Sarah Armstrong-Jones) Elizabeth Barrington (Princess) Anna) etc.
Shoebox Films, Komplizen Film, FilmNation Entertainment
Release year 2021
IMDb website
Where to watch cinemas

There is no official list of Oscar nominees yet, but by the end of the year, the first forecasts from film critics are already appearing. For example, the American edition of Variety believes that Kristen Stewart can get into the nomination for the best female role, and Lady Gaga (House of Gucci), Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos) and Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter) will compete with her.

For her role in Spencer (named after Diana’s maiden name), Kristen Stewart learned to pronounce her lines with an English accent. She worked with a dialect coach who also worked with the cast of The Crown. In addition, the actress copied Diana’s mannerisms by watching her interviews and videos with the appearances of the Princess of Wales in public.


One of these moments is reproduced in the film – the royal family performs their duties by attending a church service on Christmas Day. However, all the other events of the tape take place away from prying eyes – behind the closed doors of Sandringham Palace (the film was filmed in Germany on the territory of the Nordkirchen Palace, which conveys the atmosphere of an old English manor).

Director Pablo Larraín (of Jackie fame) follows Diana without attempting to create a credible biopic. He warns about this in the opening credits, calling the picture a fiction that emerged from a real tragedy. Larrain fantasizes with might and main about how the royal family sits down at the table, lines up for a joint picture and performs a bunch of other conventions, remaining restrained and unemotional monarchs who, even with personal servants, play the roles assigned to them.

Prince Charles (portrayed by actor Jack Farthing) tells his wife that there must be two of her: the real version of himself and another one – the one that is forced to do hateful things for the good of the country. But Diana can no longer pretend. She can hardly stand the solemn feasts and tries to evade the rules set by the queen. This turns her into a hunted animal, which tries to break out of the cage with a secure lock.


The film shows only three days that Diana spends in a huge palace. To delve into the feelings of the heroine, the writers use details from the BBC interview. In it, the princess spoke about depression, bulimia and self-harm (the action of the tape takes place in 1991, and communication with a journalist in 1995).

Otherwise, “Spencer” is pure fantasy, which tries to recreate the experiences of the princess in the most difficult period before the divorce. Kristen Stewart, adopting the characteristic movements of Diana, conveys the nervousness of the heroine and at the same time loses the naturalness of facial expressions (everything in the frame is too polished, and sometimes caricatured from this). She roams the palace, spends time with her sons, delays meeting other family members, and desperately needs the company of a costume designer (played by Sally Hawkins) – the only person to whom Diana can open up.


At times, the film becomes a phantasmagoria in which Anne Boleyn appears. Diana associates herself with the woman who was betrayed by King Henry VIII Tudor of England and tries to escape public execution by finding solace in memories of her childhood.

Visually, “Spencer” is reminiscent of the beautiful faded photographs that are shown to viewers to imbue them with sympathy for Diana. All this happens to the music of Jonny Greenwood (who also wrote the soundtrack for the drama The Power of the Dog) – thanks to the diverse melodies, we manage to feel the all-consuming anxiety that does not leave the princess.

So it turns out an unusual drama that sympathizes with Diana, and is too far removed from reality into a phantom story.

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Pros: Film stills look like pretty faded photos; shooting in the palace; the music conveys the heroine’s anxious state. Cons: Kristen Stewart copies Diana’s mannerisms, but at the same time loses the naturalness of facial expressions; sometimes the director goes too far with phantasmagoria Conclusion:

“Spencer” is a free-form fantasy that attempts to recreate the princess’s struggles before her divorce.

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