Film review | Diana – Downfall director turns Diana’s final years into a bland Mills & Boon romance

DIANA - Naomi Watts as Princess Diana

Yes. It’s true. The new Princess Diana biopic is every bit as bad as you’ve heard. Yet anyone looking for so-bad-it’s-good amusement will find his or her hopes dashed. Focusing on Diana’s secret love affair with Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, Downfall director Oliver Hirschbiegel has turned the last two years of her life into a bland Mills & Boon romance, a film whose awfulness is turgid rather than unintentionally comic. Saddled with excruciating, toe-curlingly bad lines, Naomi Watts tries gamely in the lead but bears almost as much resemblance to Barbara Windsor as she does to Diana Windsor. Her Diana goes from doe-eyed romcom heroine, meeting cute with Naveen Andrews’ Hasnat in a hospital, to budding bunny-boiler when their relationship sours. ‘Yes, I’ve been a mad bitch.’  Towards the end, Diana’s complicity with the paparazzi arouses the odd flicker of interest, as does the suggestion that her liaison with Dodi Fayed was merely a rebound fling designed to pique Hasnat’s attention, but that’s as close as Hirschbiegel gets to possible insight into his subject’s psyche.

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Certificate 12A. Runtime 113 mins. Director Oliver Hirschbiegel.

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