Spencer                                                                                          Cert. 12A, 1hr 51mins


The card counter                                                                        Cert. 15 1hr 51 mins


Eternals                                                                                      Cert. 12A, 2hrs. 37 minutes


I love it when a film wins me over, and that’s exactly what happened with SpencerI. I arrived with very low expectations and was not in the mood to retell the story of Princess Diana.

I’d already binged my way through series four of The Crown with Emma Corrin in the role, seen endless newspaper photographs of the even more willowy Elizabeth Debicki taking over for series five and endured at least one recent documentary solemnly marking ‘what would have been the late Princess’s 60th birthday’. At peak Diana, I was actually just past it.

And for half an hour – maybe a little longer – I saw little to change my mind. Kristen Stewart (American actress) seemed to make up her height by doing a slow imitation. 

By aiming for a heightened reality, Pablo Larrain gives us the most powerful depiction of the wretched misery of Diana, played by Kristen Stewart (above)

Pablo Larrain’s portrayal of Diana’s misery is powerful because it focuses on a higher reality. Kristen Stewart, who plays the role of Diana (above), also uses this technique.

What Larrain has artfully fashioned is not so much a fable as a cautionary fairy tale of an unhappy Princess, whose bedroom curtains are sewn shut so no one can see her dressing, is weighed in public (apparently a Sandringham tradition) despite her known problems with food, and is so lonely she ends up talking to a scarecrow’s battered canvas jacket. And let’s not even mention those visions of Anne Boleyn.

Put like that, it sounds barking mad, but that’s the point. By aiming for a heightened reality, an exaggerated version of the truth, Larrain gives us the most powerful depiction of the wretched misery of Diana I’ve seen.

This woman is paranoid and self-harming, as well as throwing up after each meal. Suddenly, Stewart’s big performance starts to make perfect sense. Well before the end, I could see why she’s being hotly tipped come awards season. 

Paranoid, self-harming and throwing up after every meal, this is a woman on the edge of madness. Suddenly, Kristen Stewart’s big performance starts to make perfect sense

A woman who is obsessed with self-harm and paranoia, she throws up at every meal. Suddenly, Kristen Stewart’s big performance starts to make perfect sense

Despite the Princess’s beautifully recreated and iconic wardrobe, Spencer is still not perfect. It soon becomes monotonous in its structure and the Princess is known to have a few heartfelt conversations with her Palace staff. Do not miss the touching scenes she shares with her sons, a surprising declaration of love and an excellent supporting role from Sean Harris as Royal head chef.

There’s more fine acting on show in The Card CounterOscar Isaac is the focus of our attention, as William Tell (a professional gambler) and Tye Sheridan, almost as good or better than Cirk. William’s young sidekick William hires to accompany him as he moves from casino to casino, motel to motel.

He wraps every furniture piece in his hotel room with a sheet each night. His troubled past and, in particular, his service in Iraqi military combat are likely to be the answer.

Paul Schrader (best known for his screenplays for Taxi Driver, Raging Bull) is responsible for the script and direction of this film. After an engaging opening, Schrader is unable to connect past and present.

Are you familiar with the Star Wars opening screen-crawls, which bring us up-to-date on Empire and Rebel Alliance news It’s true! Eternals, Marvel Studios’ latest, has something similar at the beginning, only much shorter despite dealing with the history of the entire universe. It’s only about four paragraphs long but I was hopelessly lost by the end of it. Singularities… celestials… deviants… eternals… someone possibly called Arishem? Oder was that Ajak?

Two-and-a-half long hours of cod-mythology and crash-bang-wallop, visual-effects-driven action later and despite the best efforts of a cast led by Gemma Chan, Angelina Jolie and Richard Madden, I was modestly more informed but no more entertained. It will likely be more popular with Avengers fans than it was for me.