“Diana” is a very entertaining film about the last two years of the life of the former British princess who needs no last name.
Expecting to hate this – everyone else did – I was very pleasantly surprised by the excellent performances from Naomi Watts and Naveen Andrews as the divorced wife of the Prince of Wales and her heart surgeon lover.
The sensitivity around the central tale of Muslim/Christian love is understated and rather beautiful.
I probably need to declare a few interests here. I am not a member of the cult of Diana and I did not cry or place flowers at her home. While I might have been sad at the death of a young mother, I am anti-Royal.
Indeed, my political and personal evolution have guided me from a general “off with all their heads” position to a “restrict them all to Balmoral, take over the palaces and income for the people and subject them to retraining” place.
Reader, I have evolved.
If you look at this movie as a contrast between public and private lives and different religions and cultures, there is a great deal here to enjoy.
Diana’s campaign against landmines and loving support of charities is described, without too much hagiography. The dresses are terrific too.
The direction by Oliver Hirshbiegel shares a curiously claustrophobic feeling with his 2004 Hitler movie “Downfall”. The scenes of the curious love/hate relationship Diana had with the press are well done.
Juliet Stevenson and Geraldine James have sympathetic moments as confidantes and the music and backdrops enhance the human drama.
With moments of great humour, the film shows Diana as a whole person, warts and all.
Hasnat Khan has denounced the accuracy of his portrayal here but he hasn’t seen the film and – well – he would say that, wouldn’t he?
Is it truthful and accurate? I have no idea. Was Diana kept away from her children so very much? Did the different backgrounds and values scupper her romance with Khan?
We may never know. But 113 minutes passed very quickly at the Stratford Picturehouse and the only time I winced was about the portrayal of the optimism surrounding Tony Blair’s election as Prime Minister in 1997. From memory, that was accurate.
Do go see it. It’s a slice of the very recent past with glamour, pathos and style.