‘Spencer’: Trailer, release date and everything we know about the Kristen Stewart movie

Spencer Kristen Stewart
(Image credit: Neon)

Princess Diana still has plenty of intrigue for TV and film audiences, the upcoming movie Spencer is just one of many shows, documentaries and films in recent years that have chronicled the tragic tale of the beloved princess.

The most notable recent example of Diana’s story was shown in The Crown season four, where she was played by Emma Corrin when Diana; Diana’s story will continue in season five of The Crown, though she will now be played by Elizabeth Debecki. There’s a Diana: The Musical, which will premiere on Netflix on Oct. 1.

But Spencer is a hotly anticipated title for multiple reasons. Number one, it stars Kristen Stewart as Diana in a role that is already generating Oscar buzz for the actress. And number two, it comes from director Pablo Larraín, who previously wowed audiences with a film about a seminal female historical figure, Jackie Kennedy in Jackie.

Here is everything we know about Spencer.

What is the plot of ‘Spencer’?

As mentioned above, Princess Diana’s life has been well documented and portrayed in film and TV through a number of different titles, but where Spencer will differ is how it will look at a short section of time in Diana’s life, imagining what it might have been like for her as she was soon about to leave her marriage to Prince Charles.

Here is the official plot synopsis from Neon:

“The marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles has long since grown cold. Though rumors of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate. There's eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana knows the game. But this year, things will be profoundly different. Spencer is an imagining of what might have happened during those few fateful days.”

Steven Knight wrote the screenplay.

Who is in the ‘Spencer’ cast?

Kristen Stewart is the main attraction for Spencer with her performance as Princess Diana. While the actress is best known for her roles in the Twilight series, critics have also praised a number of her indie roles in her post-Twilight career, including Clouds of Sils Maria, Personal Shopper and Seberg. Following Spencer’s premiere at the fall film festivals, Stewart is receiving the best notices of her career though for her work, which many believe could lead to her first Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

While Stewart earns top billing, her supporting cast includes the likes of Timothy Spall, Sally Hawkins, Sean Harris, Jack Farthing, Stella Gonet, Richard Sammel and more.

Here is the cast list via IMDb

  • Kristen Stewart - Diana
  • Jack Farthing - Prince Charles 
  • Sally Hawkins - Maggie 
  • Timothy Spall - Major Alistar Gregory 
  • Sean Harris - Darren 
  • Stella Gonet - the Queen 
  • Richard Sammel - Prince Philip 
  • Elizabeth Berrington - Princess Anne 
  • Lore Stefanek - Queen Mother  
  • Jack Nielen - William 
  • Freddie Spry - Harry 

Who is 'Spencer' director Pablo Larraín

Pablo Larraín is a Chilean filmmaker whose credits include Fuga, Tony Manero, Post Mortem, The Club, Neruda and No (nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars) before he broke out for American audiences with 2016's Jackie. Though Larraín was not nominated for any Oscars, the film received three, including one for his leading lady, Natalie Portman.

Since Jackie he directed the film Ema and all eight episodes for Apple TV Plus' Lisey's Story.

When is the ‘Spencer’ release date?

Spencer will get an exclusive run in theaters starting Nov. 5. There is no indication on whether its release on Nov. 5 will be limited to any particular cities or if it will be given a wide release at that time. Theater listers will become available closer to Spencer’s release.

When will it be available for streaming or digital purchase? That’s TBD, but we can likely assume that Spencer will adhere to a multiple week exclusive run in theaters. The new standard appears to be 45 days (half of the pre-pandemic standard of 90); if that proves true, Spencer could be available for on-demand viewing around Christmas.

Is there a ‘Spencer’ trailer?

A teaser trailer gave movie fans their first look at Spencer and Kristen Stewart’s performance, but Neon has recently released the official trailer. Watch it below. 

Are there ‘Spencer’ reviews?

Having premiered at the Venice, Toronto and Telluride film festivals earlier this fall, critics have weighed in on Spencer, and the response has been good so far. On Rotten Tomatoes, Spencer has scored a 86% and is officially certified "Fresh," while Metacritic has it scored at an 82 and has given it the site’s “Must-See” distinction.

What to Watch critic Leigh Monson has added another rave to the film's tally, saying that Spencer is one of the best films of the year and features career-best work from Kristen Stewart.

How to watch 'Spencer'

Spencer is releasing officially on Nov. 5, and if you want to watch it you'll have to find it at your local movie theater. The film, which was produced and is being distributed by Neon, is getting an exclusive theatrical run, so be sure to check to see where and when Spencer is playing in your area (not being a big Marvel-level blockbuster, Spencer is getting a smaller initial release, so it might not be immediately available in all areas).

When will Spencer be available for streaming, you may be asking? That's TBD. Spencer will likely adhere to at least a 45-day theatrical window, which is becoming the unofficial industry policy, before it is made available either for streaming or as a video-on-demand rental. Neon does have a deal in place with Hulu, so whenever Spencer becomes available to stream, it will likely be through the Hulu streaming service.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.