WRITTEN BY: Stephen Jeffreys
DIRECTED BY: Oliver Hirschbiegel
STARRING: Naomi Watts, Naveen Andrews
RATING: 1.5 stars
Princess Diana is fondly remembered for her extensive charity work, but she is equally remembered for her mysterious affairs and tabloid lifestyle. It is a shame that someone so admired and respected on the one hand can also be water cooler fodder. When I heard that 16 years after her death, a film was being made about Diana's life, I was intrigued about what stories would be told. Unfortunately, Oliver Hirschbiegel's film is a gossip-inspired story that does very little to engage audiences. Instead, it is filled with so-called intimate details that lack credibility. I would have preferred a film that focussed on her inspiring humanitarian work. As it stands, the film is awfully written by Stephen Jeffreys with woeful dialogue and a cheap, sensationalised look at a revered woman's life.
Chronicling the final two years of the most famous woman in the world, the film is set in 1995 with Princess Diana (Naomi Watts) being hounded by the paparazzi while she tries to juggle being a humanitarian, dealing with the end of her marriage to Prince Charles and how to remain in her children's lives. Then she meets heart surgeon Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews) who she likes immediately because he does not treat her like royalty. In fact, he shuns that lifestyle and considers it distracting to his medical work. Nonetheless, the pair begin an affair.
The film makes Diana's life out to be a soap opera. She appears desperate for love and a little annoying at times. Watts is a strong actress and she did her best with the weak script, but even she could not save this film. Unfortunately, there was zero chemistry between her and Andrews too, which was a vital missing link. He also had to endure delivering some of the worst lines.
The only really good thing I can say about this film is that they did a great job with recreating some well documented moments in the princess's life. But it is not worth seeing just for that. If you want to know about Diana's life, watch some old interviews with her or read a few biographies with a critical eye and make your own mind up about the Queen of Hearts.