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Most helpful customer reviews
66 of 70 people found the following review helpful.
“I’m a princess and I get what I want!”
By Paul Allaer
“Diana” (2013 release from the UK; 113 min. ) brings the last 2 years in the life of Diana, Princess of Wales. As the movie opens, we see Diana (played by Naomi Watts) getting ready in the Ritz Hotel in Paris, on that infamous day of August 31, 1997. Then the movie jumps back 2 years earlier. Diana and Charles are living separate lives. We see Diana in sweatpants and unhappy (and alone) at her London residence). By chance Diana meets Hasnat Khan, a Pakistani heart surgeon (played by Naveen Andrews). It isn’t before long that Diana and Khan are falling for each other, and must go to extraordinary measures to keep this a secret from the press and from the world. Khan tells Diana about his passion for football (a/k/a soccer) and jazz, and at one point Diana even dons a black wig and the two go to a jazz club in London, where Diana has the time of her life. To tell you more of the ‘plot’ would be pointless.Several comments: this movie has been universally panned by the critics, and it obviously has not done well at the box office either (more on that later), so I must admit I had some doubts about seeing this, but given that Naomi Watts was playing Diana, I took a chance on this. As it turns out, I quite enjoyed this movie! I have no idea whether the events between Diana and Kahn as depicted in this movie are accurate or whether some of them even happened at all (did the two of them really snuck out of London in Diana’s butler’s car and took a trip to the cliffs of Dover?). But in the end, the details are not what matter, in the sense that this movie gives a great glimpse into the utter loneliness that surrounds Diana when she is not out in the public (the movie restages a number of iconic moments from those last 2 years, including the infamous “Queen of Hearts” interview with the BBC in November ;95, the trip to Angola to meet landmine victims, etc.). Besides the loneliness, Diana also comes across as insecure and sometimes childish (at one point when arguing with Khan, she yells out “I’m a princess and I get what I want!”), so this movie is not just a one-directional flattering image of Diana. And then there is the non-stop haunting by the press, in particular the paparazzi photographers. It is so relentless, one cannot even begin to imagine what it really must have been like to live in the limelight like that. The last 30 min. of the movie (about Diana and Dodi Fayed) are painful to watch, as by then her life has become a complete circus, in fact more like a Greek tragedy, the ending of which we all know. This movie was capably directed by German director Oliver Hirschbiegel (best known for that Hitler movie “The Downfall” some years ago). But the true star of the movie is of course Naomi Watts, who took a big professional gamble when she agreed to take on the role of such an iconic figure. She pulls it off brilliantly in my opinion, and this is another Oscar nomination-worthy performance.”Diana” opened on 2 screens for all of Greater Cincinnati this past weekend, and given the negative buzz around this movie, I figured this would not be playing long so I went to see it today. The screening I saw this at was unfortunately not well attended. It’s a shame, as this movie for me turned out to be a pleasant surprise, even if the subject matter is not a happy one (you won’t walk out of this thinking “that was a jolly good time!”). Bottom line: “Diana” is definitely worth checking out, be it in the theatre or on DVD/Blu-ray.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful.
“I’ve been a mad b****!”
By E. A Solinas
There are good biographical movies. There are bad biographical movies. And there are biographical movies that rape the fabric of space-time with their wretchedness.Guess what kind “Diana” is.In fact, this seething drippy movie is not even a biographical piece — it’s more of a filmed fanfiction, allegedly about the late princess’ affair with heart surgeon Hasnat Khan (who hated this movie). Everything about “Diana” goes completely wrong, from Naomi Watts’ breathy brainless performance to the driveling soap-opera script that seems more appropriate for the Lifetime Channel.At the time of the film’s beginning, Princess Diana (Watts) is pretty much at the end of her marriage to Prince Charles (Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Film) but is still loved and followed by everybody. Then she meets Khan (Naveen Andrews), whose devotion to saving lives immediately interests her — and “I’m a princess; I always get what I want.”The two begin an affair, and Diana is dazzled by the normalcy of his life — jazz, burgers, watching sports on TV, etc. And since Diana was a dazed ingenue with NO idea how to handle the press or her image, only Khan can coach her in how to use her celebrity for good. But the constant attention and paparazzi start to wear on their relationship, driving them apart — and eventually, leading to tragedy.Director Oliver Hirschbiegel is possibly the biggest Diana fanboy since EVER, and he presents the last years of her life like a bad romance novel. He bludgeons us with all sorts of sentimental glorifying garbage intermingled with a bad romantic plot. This is a Princess Di movie meant to appeal to people who already think she was a saint, and thus won’t step on their toes.After all, Diana was just SO down to earth that she took her shoes off in her house! And she never used the press for her own ends! No no, she was a wide-eyed ingenue who had NO idea that explosive interviews could cause trouble for the royals (“I don’t do strategy”), or that she could use the press for her own ends! No, she was just so GENUINE and REAL and HONEST, and wanted a NORMAL life! Gag me.It actually gets kind of nauseating to see him vomit the most transparent hype on the viewers. It doesn’t help that he tries his best to emotionally manipulate the audience all the time, with revoltingly sappy scenes like Diana and Khan frolicking through a field or reciting poetry in bed.And that’s just the sappiness and emotional manipulation — this movie is ghastly on every level of quality. Hirschbiegel wholeheartedly embraces every cliche that cinema has to offer — when rejected by Khan, Diana responds by running tearfully through the night. And the dialogue is bad enough to burn holes in your eardrums — for example, “You don’t perform the surgery. The surgery performs you” (which caused me to blurt out, “In Mother Russia, surgery performs YOU!”).Naomi Watts was pretty much miscast from the beginning, and this is possibly her worst role to date — her Diana is all breathy, doe-eyed innocent. And while Hirschbiegel demands that we admire her, he also attributes everything good that she ever did to Hasnat Khan. Ah, feminism.But despite the fawning, she actually comes across as rather creepy, breaking into her lover’s apartment to clean it, visiting his family and chasing him like a sex-changed Edward Cullen. Despite Hirschbiegel’s depiction of her as a suffering saint, she comes across as a bratty, whiny teenager who wants a guy, refuses to care about his misgivings and goes psycho when rejected.I’ll credit Naveen Andrews — he gives a semi-decent performance, considering the garbage he has to spew. Sadly, the movie is uninterested in the relationships that truly did shape Diana — her children, her family, her ex-husband Charles, the repressive web of royals — and they are reduced to nothing but fleeting shadows, without substance or voice.Someday, someone will make a great biopic of Princess Diana… and hopefully, it will overshadow the cliched, fawning drivel in “Diana.” Avoid at all costs.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful.
Much like The Iron Lady this movie shows a specific personal love story rather then the greatness of the individual.
By Tony Heck
“Somewhere between right and wrong there is a God, and I will meet you there.” Two years before her tragic death Diana (Watts) was trying to handle a very public divorce as well as trying to get her love life back in order. When she meets Dr. Hasnat Khan (Andrews) she begins to think she found her answer. Little by little the two begin to fall in love but her celebrity winds up making the choice for them. I am a huge fan of bio-pics and was looking forward to this one mainly because this happened at a time that I remember. I wasn’t a big follower of the royal family but when she did I remember she died with a man named Dodi Fayed so the whole love story aspect of the movie (though the main focus) seemed inconsequential. I know this was a love story movie going in but when they added in scenes where she is talking about land mines or mentions that she visits children in hospitals they felt like an after thought. Much like Iron Lady this movie shows a specific personal love story rather then the greatness of the individual. To that end the movie doesn’t do Diana justice, as a love story it is OK. Naomi Watts however was great in this. Overall, doesn’t focus enough on the things that made Diana great and the reason she was so loved enough for me to really get into it. I give it a B-.
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