A shambolic and hugely speculative look at one of the love affairs of the Princess of Wales
The producers of Diana would have us believe that their film offers a compelling and compassionate portrait of the Princess of Wales during the final two years of her life. What emerges instead is a shambolic and hugely speculative look at one of her love affairs that has more in common with a bad romcom.
Oliver Hirschbiegel’s film chronicles the relationship between Diana (Naomi Watts) and British born, Pakistani heart surgeon Dr Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews), showing how it gave her life new meaning and encouraged her humanitarian work. But far from offering anything heartfelt, probing or even controversial, it’s bogged down by a squirm-inducing script from Stephen Jeffreys that, in turn, draws heavily from Kate Snell’s controversial book, Diana: Her Last Love.
The film occasionally recreates seminal moments from Diana’s life, such as her now infamous Panorama interview with Martin Bashir and her walk across a minefield in Africa, and does so with a certain amount of authenticity. But it is far more concerned with existing in the imagined and devotes the majority of its time to the romance, from the awkward first moments between Diana and Khan to their fairytale moment in the sun and the pressures that eventually led the relationship to fail.
It’s hard not to laugh at scenes involving Diana bumbling away like a female Hugh Grant, cooking baked beans and declaring a love of TV’s Casualty to underline her everywoman qualities, or even donning wigs and hiding in the boots of cars to maintain her anonymity. But it’s also something of a travesty that the life of one of modern history’s most fascinating and complex women has been reduced to a laughing stock. Watts, for her part, fails to convince as Diana, while Andrews is too serious and stiff as Khan. But then they are both fighting a lost cause as there’s nothing they could have done to redeem this particularly bad film.
General release from Fri 20 Sep.