A really bad film can be a glorious thing. When early reactions started emanating about Diana, the possibility that it could be a camp disaster on the level of Mommie Dearest or Showgirls revealed itself. Alas, there is no flair or pomp to Diana‘s terribleness – it’s bad in the blandest way possible. Bad bad, not good bad.
I’ve been describing the experience as the cinematic equivalent of flipping through an old issue of celebrity tabloid rag Hello! – there are some moderately attractive people and furnishings to behold, but the entire enterprise smacks of pointlessness.
The film focuses on the relationship between Diana (Naomi Watts) and Dr Hasnat Khan, the Pakistani surgeon played by Naveen Andrews (Lost). There is a fatal lack of chemistry between the pair and Diana comes off as a shrill, demanding, er, princess for the most part. Watts is let down by the Mills & Boon-level script, and I couldn’t stop wondering how the originally-cast (and more age-appropriate) Jessica Chastain might’ve done in the role.
If the whole project didn’t stink of tastelessness to begin with, Diana suffers considerably when compared to its obvious tonal inspiration – 2006’s The Queen. Attempts to lend this story any meaning or authenticity fail completely, and all we’re left with is a raggedy sub-Notting Hill dynamic that sees Diana sneaking around with her secret lover.
If you absolutely must see this film, wait until you can do so at home with a bunch of friends and plenty of wine.