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Review: Diana

Oct. 31, 2013by: Chris Bumbray

PLOT: A glimpse into the last two years of Princess Dianas (Naomi Watts) life, from her separation from Prince Charles, through a relationship she has with a down-to-earth Pakistani heart surgeon, Dr. Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews).

REVIEW: Its hard to imagine another big-screen biopic of such a beloved figure as Princess Diana going as disastrously wrong as Oliver Hirschbiegels DIANA. Prior to its UK release, this was tipped as a hot title in the years Oscar race, with Naomi Watts showing up on the shortlist of many top Oscar gurus as a potential best actress nominee. Suffice to say that wont be happening as- to be generous- DIANA is Lifetime TV movie of the week fare, and without someone like Watts in the lead, would probably never make it to theaters.

Basically, Dianas post-divorce life has been reimagined as a soap opera that probably owes as much to someone like seventies trash tycoon Harold Robbins as it does to anything that actually happened in the Princess of Wales life. Here, the peoples princess is reimagined as a love-starved jet-setter, who goes all weak in the knees for Andrews heart surgeon, although its never clear why.

Clearly, Diana was a complicated person, but her romance with Khan (and there really was such a fellow) is never fleshed-out. Andrews, who can be a brilliant actor when given the opportunity (LOST, THE ENGLISH PATIENT) plays Khan like a bit of a boor, quickly losing his temper anytime it seems like he may lose a degree of privacy through his relationship with Diana. Such is life when youre dating the worlds most famous woman. As for Watts, shes good at making puppy dog eyes at Andrews, but their chemistry is just awful. Watching her and Andrews as they frolic around in Wales on a supposedly idyllic romantic interlude is unintentionally hilarious. The two are so bad together it feels like theyre on an awkward first date that just wont end.

One hesitates to blame either of them though, as neither has a thing to work with. The script, by playwright Stephen Jeffreys never manages to make their affair seem compelling. Potentially interesting facets of her life, such as her relationship with her sons William and Harry, or her tense relationship with the Royal Family, are completely ignored. It feels like everyone involved was desperate to make a film that would get the Royal Familys blessing, although given the two-dimensional portrait of Diana, its tough to imagine this effort will be appreciated.

DIANA gets especially bad towards the end, where its suggested that Dianas complicity with the paparazzi, who the movie suggests Diana used to make Khan jealous, led to her tragic death. The film is bookended by sequences showing Diana, immediately before her death in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris, waiting in a hotel, gazing at her four mobiles, hoping for a call from Khan. Its soap opera stuff, and no better than the various TV movies that were rushed out in the aftermath of her death in 97. Hardly awards caliber stuff.

Whats especially tragic about the film is how much of a misstep this is for the once brilliant Hirschbiegel. In addition to his Hitler saga DOWNFALL (which spawned a never ending series of parodies on YouTube), he also directed the superb DAS EXPERIMENT (not to be confused with the awful Adrien Brody remake), before suffering through the troubled production of THE INVASION. DIANA doesnt seem worthy of his talents, nor those of his stars Watts and Andrews. DIANA really is a movie thats best forgotten. The only award it might win is a razzie.

Source: JoBlo.com

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7:38AM on 10/31/2013
Oh dear god, this is from the director of Der Untergang? Why...
Oh dear god, this is from the director of Der Untergang? Why...
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6:51AM on 10/31/2013
Wait, it's from the Das Experiment/Downfall dude? Oh my, downfall indeed...
Wait, it's from the Das Experiment/Downfall dude? Oh my, downfall indeed...
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5:32AM on 10/31/2013
I watched Film Brain's review of this on that guy with the glasses, and it sounds staggeringly awful. The main thing that struck me from his review was that Charles and Camilla are completely off-screen characters and William and Harry get one line in. It's a biopic that completely sidesteps the most compelling, interesting part of the subject's life in the name of supposed "political correctness" and instead tires to deliver a hokey romantic drama when really, the romance between Hasnat Khan
I watched Film Brain's review of this on that guy with the glasses, and it sounds staggeringly awful. The main thing that struck me from his review was that Charles and Camilla are completely off-screen characters and William and Harry get one line in. It's a biopic that completely sidesteps the most compelling, interesting part of the subject's life in the name of supposed "political correctness" and instead tires to deliver a hokey romantic drama when really, the romance between Hasnat Khan and Diana isn't the thing audiences aren't curious about. This really does not sound like it honours Diana's legacy at all.
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4:25AM on 10/31/2013
"The only award it might win is a razzie" - Ouch!!
"The only award it might win is a razzie" - Ouch!!
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+4
4:01AM on 10/31/2013
I had expected this film would focus on her life within the royal family, so I am puzzled as to why they focused on this part of her life. It seems far less interesting. Ah well, wasn't planning on seeing this anyway, it just seems a shame that a film about her is such a travesty.
I had expected this film would focus on her life within the royal family, so I am puzzled as to why they focused on this part of her life. It seems far less interesting. Ah well, wasn't planning on seeing this anyway, it just seems a shame that a film about her is such a travesty.
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