x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

This sympathetic biopic of Diana’s post-divorce love life is more enjoyable than its savage reception in Britain might suggest

Naveen Andrews and Naomi Watts in Diana. Ecosse Films
Naveen Andrews and Naomi Watts in Diana. Ecosse Films

Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel

Starring: Naomi Watts, Naveen Andrews ⋆⋆⋆

Halfway between a guilty pleasure and a missed opportunity, this sympathetic biopic of Lady Diana Spencer’s post-divorce love life is more enjoyable than its savage reception back home in Britain might suggest. Based on the 2001 book Diana: Her Last Love by the journalist Kate Snell, it charts Lady Di’s doomed romance with the handsome, jazz-loving, publicity-shy Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan (Navine Andrews). She dreams of escape, remarriage and a fresh start. But her high public profile and his devout Muslim family throw up many obstacles. Despite its awful, wooden dialogue, Diana is not bad enough to qualify as enjoyably lowbrow trash. Naomi Watts rises above a stiff script with her subtle and polished performance, capturing Di’s clipped accent and knowingly coy body language despite her minimal physical resemblance. It may be conventional and shallow at heart, but this deluxe soap opera is too gossipy and glamorous to be boring.