Spencer Movie Review

Spending time with the family during the holidays can be a wonderful and heartwarming experience. It can also be emotionally fraught with unspoken emotions and arguments that have yet to be resolved.

The new movie, Spencer, takes place over Christmas in the early 1990s. Princess Diana (Kristen Stewart), as tradition commands, is spending the holiday with her husband and her in-laws. Her “fairy tale” marriage to Prince Charles (Jack Farthing) is at its breaking point. Reigned in by Major Alistar Gregory (Timothy Spall), the only person she can trust is her dresser, Maggie (Sally Hawkins). As her mental health declines and she begins to see the ghost of Anne Boleyn (Amy Manson), she has a choice. Diana can continue to stay where she is and spiral out of control or break free, knowing that her life will never be the same.

OMG. Spencer is not only one of the best films of the year, but also a surefire contender come award season. Stewart’s Diana is truly exceptional. This is a woman who just wants love, but is treated as a commodity by the ones who are closest to her. She tries to fit in, but it is quite obvious that Diana sticks out like a sore thumb. I have zero complaints about this movie. The tension starts with the opening shot and does not let up until the credits roll. It is gloriously uncomfortable to watch, knowing what we know about Diana’s all too short life.

My favorite aspect of this film is that it destroys the myth that American actors cannot play British characters. While we generally accept British actors (i.e. Man of Steel) playing American characters, the same cannot be said when the situation is flipped. The most frequent complaint is that the accent the performer uses is more of a caricature than the real deal. Stewart is so good in the role that I almost forgot that I was watching a piece of fiction and not a documentary.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Spencer is currently in theaters.

The Party Movie Review

A party should be a simple thing: drinks, food, music to add a little ambiance and good friends. But sometimes parties become a little more complicated.

In the new movie, The Party, Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas) has just won a hard-fought political election. To celebrate her new role, Janet and her husband, Bill (Timothy Spall) have invited friends over to celebrate. Janet’s BFF, April (Patricia Clarkson), who is very much the realist brings her new age-y boyfriend, Gottfried (Bruno Ganz). Also invited is the married and newly pregnant lesbian couple Martha (Cherry Jones) and Jinny (Emily Mortimer). The last invited guest to arrive is Tom (Cillian Murphy),  one half of a power couple who are known for their physical appearance as much as they are known for their status.

What starts out as an evening to celebrate Janet’s success become an evening of painful reveals that may forever change the course of the character’s lives.

Directed and co-written by Sally Potter, this film looks and sounds like a stage play. I would not be surprised, if at some point, the movie was re-made into a stage play.  Filmed in black and white, the comedy is dark, satirical and hits the perfect note.

This movie is one of the best movies of 2018 so far.

I recommend it.

The Party is presently in theaters. 

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