Film Review – Diana

Diana (M)

Directed by: Oliver Hirschbiegel

Starring: Naomi Watts, Naveen Andrews

One star

Review by: Julian Wright

Diana, which depicts the last two years of the Princess’ life, feels like it should come with a Kathy Griffin inspired “Allegedly” disclaimer with it. Much like the flame haired stand up comic’s scathing tales about the famous, Diana the film paints the Princess in an unflattering light, airs her supposed dirty laundry and all seemingly without a shred of proof. So many supposed intimate moments that happened in private without witnesses are guessed and embellished for dramatic effect and claim that Diana and her lover of two years Hasnat Khan held mind numbingly stupid conversations, and communicated in clichés.

With her marriage to Charles finally in the last stages of dissolve, Princess Diana (Naomi Watts) meets heart surgeon Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews) and the two share a passionate love affair for two years. But the life of a private and focussed surgeon proves difficult to merge with that of a world-famous figure daily hounded by the media, which results in a tumultuous relationship plagued by several downs, many ups, and break ups and make ups.

diana1

Filling in the gaps of the last two years of Princess Diana’s life before her death in 1997 has proved a disastrous move for everyone involved in this misguided biography. Exposing what was apparently the biggest romance of her life appears to be built on more embellishments and guesses than fact. While the film touches on her admirable humanitarian work, relationship with the frenzied media and breakdown from the Royal family – the most interesting aspects of her life – it instead chooses to focus on, according to it, some horrendously schmaltzy love affair. Despite this relationship supposedly being a landmark event in the Princess’s life, it is painfully mishandled and mistreats it with an alarming lack of subtlety or skill.

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This movie aims to reveal character flaws, but instead depicts Diana as a nitwit. In a bizarrely scripted moment, the pampered Princess is unaware how hamburgers are made. Not only is her cooking knowledge sorely lacking, but her stalkerish and childish lovesick attitude behaviour – which she admits to so flippantly –  are what defines her here. The Princess at one point, acting like a tween Justin Bieber fan, plants a lipstick kiss on her boyfriends’ mirror then traces a love heart around it. As a fellow viewer laughed “What is she, 12?” Compounded by her pouty moment in which she tilts her head and says, in a child-like Paris Hilton voice “I’m a Princess, and I get what I want”, this is not a version of the Princess that rings true. Nor does it ring favourable – apparently she also orchestrated the paparazzi to get back at her lover after they quarrel.

Watts gives all that she can, channelling the icon’s mannerisms and poise, but the script works against her at every turn, asking of her to act some horrendously unrealistic scenes and speak gratingly bad dialogue. Had this script stuck with what she was known for and how she dealt with it, it would have made for not only a much more interesting film, but one grounded in reality. Her isolating existence, time away from her children and having to deal with these simultaneously is drama enough for a character study, without the mawkish romance. On a scale of film biographies, Diana is more The Iron Lady than The King’s Speech.

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One Response to “Film Review – Diana”

  1. […] Diana – Another Naomi Watts misfire (luckily I didn’t mind her skit in Movie 43, otherwise […]

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