During her lifetime, and for many years afterward, Diana Spencer was the most famous woman in the world. Compared to Lady Di’s worldwide twinkle notorious bright lights like Elizabeth Taylor and Madonna seemed dim by comparison.
She led a tumultuous life, cut short at age 36 in a tunnel in Paris. She became legend, the stuff of Elton John songs and now a movie, starring Naomi Watts, details the years she was separated from Prince Charles.
“Diana” is a romance about a woman in an impossible circumstance falling in love and trying to reboot her life.
According to the film Diana’s attraction to heart surgeon Dr. Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews) was love at first sight. He’s a bit of a rogue–a surgeon who smokes–and a philosopher–“You don’t perform an operation,” he says, “it performs you.”–who takes himself and his job very seriously.
He loves Diana, but her fame interferes with the focus he needs for his job (SPOILER ALERT, BUT ONLY IF YOU HAVEN’T READ A NEWSPAPER OR MAGAZINE IN TWENTY YEARS) which complicates their already complicated lives.
Eventually, despite Diana’s assertion that “I’m a princess, I get what I want,” he breaks up with her and she finds solace and her fate in the arms of another man, Dodi Fayed (Cas Anvar).
“Diana” plays like a Cole’s Notes of Diana’s last years. It flits through time like a distracted tse tse fly, jumping from one unsatisfying scene to the next. I would imagine the choppiness is supposed to create a sense of the chaos that swirled around Diana, but instead it acts as a disjointed and extended montage.
There are moments that hit the mark. “I’m having a great time,” she says, sitting alone in an opera house, when it is clear she is not. Those moments reveal much about living a life once removed from reality but they are rare in a movie that seems content with skimming the surface.
Combine that with AMAZINGLY clunky dialogue, some supposition—it suggests Dodi Fayed was little more than a pawn to make Hazenat jealous—and the idea that Diana was a manipulator of the media that killed her and you have a film that plays like a “National Enquirer” exposé with better pictures.