No, the ‘Twilight’ Movies Were Not Good, But Yes, Kristen Stewart Is About to Win an Oscar

Bold statement: The Twilight films were…not good. Less bold statement (at least if you’ve seen the film Spencer): Kristen Stewart is about to win an Oscar.

That’s right, Stewart has abandoned werewolf-vampire love triangles to take on a challenging new role, that of Princess Diana. And if this is the first time you’re hearing about this casting, it might come as a bit of a shock. After all, the actress who brought us the tense-shouldered Bella Swan (in addition to a tense-shouldered Snow White and one of the angels in an underwhelming Charlie’s Angels reboot) hardly seems like the natural choice to play the People’s Princess, aside from a passing likeness. And yet, here we are in 2021, where literally anything is possible.

Fortunately for Stewart fans, Diana fans and just plain old film fans, Stewart stuns in the role of Diana, not only transforming into the Princess of Wales, but bringing to the screen a heartbreaking and beautiful portrayal that will certainly not be forgotten come Oscar season.

Spencer, which hits theaters on Friday, November 5, takes place in the early ‘90s and follows Princess Diana during a weekend in the country with the rest of the royal family. During this time, presumably, she comes to the conclusion that she wants to end her marriage to Prince Charles (played by Jack Farthing).

Several elements of the film make this a must-watch for lovers of all things royalty, not least of which is Stewart herself. The movie plays out almost like a silent film, featuring extremely limited dialogue. This adds to the power of Stewart’s portrayal as we’re left to watch quite a few extended private moments that are captivating and nuanced. In fact, the majority of the movie takes place up in Diana’s bedroom where she spends time alone. The audience is able to see her at her most vulnerable—coping with loneliness, an eating disorder and a growing sense of dread—and her most distressed, even going so far as to physically injure herself in a particularly unsettling moment.

The film smartly gives us limited glimpses of the rest of the royal family, leaving the focus squarely on Diana. A scene of Diana getting ready for dinner is followed immediately by another scene of her back in her room after dinner as a servant begs her to come down for dessert. By skipping the dinner scene itself (though we do get to see a handful of those), it becomes clear that this is not about the royals, but about the psychological effect they and their lifestyle have had on Diana.

Though this obviously is a fictionalized version of the events of this specific weekend, it is quite satisfying (even to a royals fan) that the royal family is not painted in a very good light. Quite the opposite, actually. The film portrays them as extremely stuck in their ways, with very little respect for Diana as a human being (or as a mother). The family takes away her only confidante (Maggie, played gorgeously by Sally Hawkins), sews her bedroom curtains shut so she is unable to see outside and defies her request to keep her two young sons (William and Harry) from going hunting. For any Diana lover, it will be hard not to leave the film a little angry at the queen and the royal fam, even if they are fictionalized here.

spencer review kristen stewart
Courtesy of NEON

In one particularly moving moment, Diana asks about her legacy. She seems concerned with what her legacy will be if she becomes queen. This obviously foreshadows what’s to come in real life: Diana never goes on to become queen, but her legacy endures for generations as the People’s Princess.

Despite a heavy-handed attempt throughout to compare Diana to Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII’s second wife who was beheaded, the film does an excellent job of pulling at the emotional heartstrings from start to finish. And there is an especially satisfying few minutes of emotional payoff and release at the end of the film, thanks to solid storytelling and, again, to Stewart herself.


It’s hard to imagine a world in which Kristen Stewart isn’t at least nominated for her portrayal of the Princess of Wales (likely along with Sally Hawkins in the supporting category). But in a moving and heartbreaking film about a woman who truly changed the world, it seems even more likely that she’ll walk away with the win. Take that, Twilight.

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VP, News and Entertainment; 'And Just Like That' Podcast Host; Up-And-Coming Bowler

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