Kristen Stewart’s ‘sweary, masturbating’ Princess Diana wins rave reviews

Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana in Spencer

Kristen Stewart’s Princess Diana film Spencer is already winning rave reviews since it debuted at the Venice Film Festival.

The film, helmed by Jackie Director Pablo Larraín, has been gestating for some time – and it finally debuted to a five-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival on Friday (3 September).

Spencer sees Kristen Stewart take on Princess Diana – but it’s not like any royal drama you’ve seen before if the reviews are to be believed.

Critics have already zoned in on some of the more unusual scenes in the film, including one in which Princess Diana imagines eating her pearl necklace, and another in which she tells an aide: “Leave me, I want to masturbate.”

The film, written by Steven Knight, doesn’t bill itself as a straight biopic either – in fact, Spencer is described as “a fable from a true tragedy”, indicating that the film is less about fact and more about exploring the inner psyche of a woman whose life continues to fascinate.

Spencer hasn’t even arrived in cinemas yet, but it’s already wowing critics who were lucky enough to watch its debut.

Writing for Deadline, critic Pete Hammond said Spencer takes viewers “deeply into the head of Diana”, who is “clearly at the end of her rope having made the decision to divorce Charles”.

He added: “I can’t say enough about Stewart’s performance, steering from an impression of an impossibly well-chronicled figure to beautifully achieving the essence of who she was.”

Hammond went on to describe Stewart’s performance as “bracing, bitter, moving, and altogether stunning”.

Variety critic Owen Gleiberman described Spencer as “magnificent”, writing that the film kicks off with a version of Princess Diana that has “misplaced her spiritual compass”.

He also heaped praise on Stewart’s performance, adding that it feels like the audience is watching “the real thing”.

“Kristen Stewart doesn’t just do an impersonation (though on the level of impersonation she’s superb). She transforms; she changes her aspect, her rhythm, her karma,” Gleiberman wrote.

Kristen Stewart’s Princess Diana in Spencer shows a woman who ‘has no escape’

In a five star review for The Guardian, Xan Brooks praised Spencer for turning the “headlines and scandal” surrounding Princess Diana into “a full-blown Gothic nightmare”.

He also heaped praise on Stewart’s performance in the “implicitly republican” and “unreverential” film, writing that she “effectively captures the agony of a woman so programmed and insulated that she feels she has no escape and has lost sight of who she is”.

Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, David Rooney said Spencer is “unlikely to be your grandparents’ Princess Diana biopic”.

The “audaciously original” film depicts a version of Princess Diana that is “on the edge of hysteria from the start,” Rooney wrote.

He praised Stewart for her “finely detailed work on the accent and mannerisms” of Princess Diana, adding that Spencer offers up her most “riveting performance” since Personal Shopper.

In a review for The Independent, Geoffrey Macnab praised Spencer for depicting Princess Diana as a “sweary, masturbating” royal. The film “is bound to infuriate traditionalists”, the review proudly proclaimed.

Macnab went on to praise Stewart’s “memorable, very mercurial performance”, adding that she is “fidgety, charming, impulsive and often funny – an immediately ingratiating presence.”