I went to see Diana, the movie, in its opening week in Montreal. Even if I’m a royal enthusiast, I wasn’t impressed by the movie.
This summer, I had read an article about the last two years of Diana’s life in Vanity Fair, which is also what the movie is about. That article was really interesting, and full of new information to me. Maybe that’s why the movie was so boring, as I already knew all about it.
The last two years of Diana’s life were chaotic, as we came to learn. She divorced from Prince Charles, she wasn’t able to see her two boys (Princes William and Harry) as much as she would have liked, and she was madly in love with a very private man, Hasnat Khan, who was a heart surgeon. The last few public engagements she attended were made because of Hasnat Khan, in favour of his interests and to be near him.
The night she died, if the movie is right, Diana would have been in Paris to make Hasnat Khan jealous, because they had split. She had accepted the invitation of Dodi Al-Fayed just because she knew photographs would be taken of her with him, and that would maybe make Hasnat Khan realised he belonged with her. But, as we now, she died. She will never be able to explain what happened, and why she was there, and if anything about this is true.
In an interview, Hasnat Khan has rectified some of the things that were said in the movie. He wanted to make clear that his family had approved of his relationship with Diana, but he really wanted to be a surgeon and have a private life. Also, the night of Diana’s death, he said that they were separated for good, and that’s only then that he heard about her relationship with Al-Fayed.
Naomi Watts, who plays Diana, is a very good actress. But in this movie, I just didn’t see Diana. I couldn’t believe her. As a comparison, I could see Margaret Thatcher when Meryl Streep portrayed her. I could see beyond Colin Firth when he was George VI. But the only thing I saw from Naomi Watts was Naomi Watts. She looked like Diana, she was dressed like Diana, but she wasn’t Diana enough.
In the United Kingdom, the movie received terrible critics, and was avoided by the public. The director, Oliver Hirschbiegel, thinks it is because the British people have some kind of a trauma with the late princess. Maybe they don’t want to know what happened. They are not completely at peace with the tragic fate of their beloved princess.
I wouldn’t recommend the film to anyone not interested in the British royal family. It would be too boring for them, as the story never seems to take off. On the other hand, I wouldn’t recommend it either to someone who is an anglophile. Instead, I’d say, try to find yourself a copy of the September 2013 Vanity Fair, or read it online. You’ll be in better business, and you’ll save your money for another movie which will be worth it.