Ever since it was announced that Kristen Stewart would be playing Princess Diana in a new biopic, Spencer, the internet has been incredibly intrigued. Then the anticipation cranked up a notch when the first picture of the actress as the late Princess appeared in January.
Now the first reviews of the movie are in following its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, which Stewart attended with Pablo Larraín, its director. Larraín previously made the highly acclaimed Jackie Kennedy biopic Jackie, for which Natalie Portman earned a richly deserved Oscar nomination.
Now Stewart is attracting Oscar of her own. Fans of the Twilight actress will be thrilled to hear that both the film and Stewart's performance are earning early raves. Spencer – which takes place during the British royal family's Christmas celebrations of 1991, right as Diana's marriage to Prince Charles is imploding – currently holds a 95% approval rating on Metacritic.
In a five-star review for The Guardian, Xan Brooks writes that Stewart "gives an awkward and mannered performance" as the late Princess. "And this is entirely as it should be," Brooks notes, "when one considers that Diana gave an awkward and mannered performance herself, garnishing her inbred posh hauteur with studied coquettish asides."
In an equally enthusiastic review for The Playlist, Jessica Kiang hails the film as a "defiantly un-commercial, weird, witty, peculiarly personal statement about perhaps the most bankably well-known tragic woman of the 20th century." She adds: "All the right people are going to hate Spencer. That's just how good it is."
The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney writes that "not everything lands in Spencer," but he also praises the film for the way it "tells a sorrowful story we all think we know in a new and genuinely disturbing light".
In a markedly less positive review for TIME, however, Stephanie Zacharek argues that Spencer turns the princess "into exactly the thing the royal family accused the real-life Diana of being, a wilful and pouty constant complainer".
Sadly, we still have a while to wait before we can see how Kristen Stewart's Spencer compares to Emma Corrin's Golden Globe-winning performance as Diana in The Crown. The film is expected to open in UK cinemas later this year, but the release date has yet to be announced.