Despite what I say as a movie analyst, people will see Diana for curiosity alone.
The film is not a complete biography, rather a focus on the period of life after Princess Diana was still married to, but separated from Prince Charles. It follows her romance with a Pakistani heart surgeon in London and leads up to the car crash and sad demise in France.
Viewers beware, this is a very average movie made watchable by Australian actress Naomi Watts (duel Oscar nominee for Mulholland Drive and The Impossible), who was actually second choice for the role after fast-rising star Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) had to pull out for scheduling conflicts. However, I am grateful Naomi accepted the challenge, if it wasn’t for her participation and obvious dedication, Diana would simply rival a mere made-for-television midday matinee.
The mannerisms, voice, walk and overall expressional look of Lady Di is recreated to perfection by Watts, who tries extremely hard reciting the words of a truly atrocious script. Frequent unintentional comedy filter through scene after scene where serious moments are meant to be. The ridiculous dialogue is uncomfortably bad.
Not since The English Patient has Naveen Andrews been so boring. His portrayal of the junk food loving and dedicated smoker Dr Hasnat Khan is a continuous embarrassment. It doesn’t help that the character is a total jerk who doesn’t know how lucky he is. At times, the idiot seems aloof the world adores his girlfriend, continuously ridiculing their privacy restrictions.
They are in love, she feels unlike a princess and more like a real person, but the relationship goes awry after many hurdles.
An incredible show of strength, loved the world over, Diana’s humanitarian work in third world countries and campaigning for a peaceful existence is elaborated successfully. These are the most interesting aspects of the story.
Moving on (if the audience is still awake), the inevitable introduction to entrepreneur Dodi Fayed is slight, but does look at the deliberately orchestrated photo opportunities on a yacht Diana herself tipped off to the paparazzi. As this is inspired by, not based on, the book “Her Last Love” from author Kate Snell, wondering how much of the movie is real will become a problem.
The costume gowns and swimsuits of the era are another rare asset in this stumbling movie. Naomi Watts is a revelation as Lady Di and really the only reason to watch it.
Diana arrives into theaters on November 1st in the US. It opens in Australia on October 10th and is now playing in the UK.
Shane A. Bassett is a contributor for TheYoungFolks.com. Read more about him on our Partners & Contributors page.