Diana review

Oh dear, what were they thinking? If a movie is based on supposition then it had better be persuasive. Diana doesn't cut it, I'm afraid – it's woefully unconvincing.

The image of the "people's princess" was adored by all and sundry and Watts sports the stylish '90s clothes well in this tepid romance. She's a very gifted actress but here never really gets to the heart of the role. She can certainly portray flightiness, indignation, anger, despair and manipulation with ease but here it doesn't add up to a full-bodied character. It's a careful interpretation, as if she doesn't wish to offend anyone. The script suffers the same problem – it's too respectful to elicit any bite. We are left with an anaemic offering that is so trite, banal and tedious that it really is more suitable for Channel 5 on a wet afternoon.

It tells of the clandestine relationship Diana had with Indian heart surgeon Hasnat Khan (Andrews) in the last two years of her life. He's depicted as a dedicated doctor with a penchant for cigarettes and fast food. They try to keep their relationship secret, but after a time he starts to bristle at the constant subterfuge they have to undertake. The narrative regularly reminds us that she is the most famous person in the world, and the unwanted attention of the hordes of paparazzi that regularly besiege her is a major factor in how their liaison plays out.

Eventually, she meets Dodi Fayed (Anvar) and uses the sunny holiday on his plush yacht as a means to make Khan jealous. The notions the script imparts are hardly that fanciful or earth-shattering, but as no members of the royal family are ever featured – apart from a couple of long shots of Willam and Harry –  the tale is robbed of any ballast.

Production values are all in good order, however. Her charity work for landmine victims in Angola as well as her trip to india to meet Khan's family are all prettily photographed and her enormous and luxuriant London abode is suitably opulent and tasteful. But the wince-inducing dialogue the two lovers spout is embarrassing and the overall result is a bloodless Mills and Boon type affair that never once grabs one's attention enough let alone touches the emotions. Dire.

Diana at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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