Making the Grades
Dodi Fayed’s name will always be associated with Princess Diana. But Dodi (played in this movie by Cas Anvar), the son of an Egyptian billionaire who died with the popular aristocrat in a Paris traffic tunnel, gets very little screen time in the biographical drama Diana. Rather this film focuses on another of Diana’s love interests—Dr. Hasnat Khan.
The Pakistani heart surgeon had a two-year liaison with the Princess of Wales that ended shortly before her death. For many around the world, the former wife of Britain’s Prince Charles is beloved for her charitable work, especially with children. However in this screenplay she comes across as a spoiled celebrity who, as she says, is used to getting what she wants. And Hasnat Khan is what she wants.
Separated from her husband for three years, Diana is looking for love. She meets Hasnat (Naveen Andrews) at the hospital where she is visiting a friend. The pair begins a secret affair. She brings him home hidden under a blanket in the back seat of her car. She thinks she has pulled something over on her security staff. In truth, they simply choose to let her believe in the deception. The paparazzi, however, aren’t so kind when they catch their first glimpse of the couple.
The movie includes numerous scenes of Hasnat and Diana in bed together following implied sexual encounters. There are also several depictions of kissing and embracing, along with portrayals of some compromising photos. Still, the success of a relationship relies on more than sex and that’s where these two run into trouble.
Diana is unquestionably one of the most famous women on the planet. But Hasnat has a fulfilling and rewarding medical career. She wants them to move abroad (as if that would stop the media frenzy). She has the connections to get Hasnat a job in almost any medical facility in the world. But he is anxious to direct his own vocation rather than let Diana run his life. It’s only after a painful reality check that he admits a marriage would never afford the princess the privacy she yearns for and would undoubtedly compromise his professional work. It’s a bitter pill for Lady Di, who repeatedly leaves pleading messages on Hasnat’s answering machine. She also apparently leaks her location to the press in order to make sure their cameras get pictures of her on Dodi’s yatch, in what looks like a juvenile attempt to make Hasnat jealous.
The moviemakers recreate many of the situations that resulted in famous snap-shots of the regal woman—including her walk through a minefield in Africa. Yet it fails to capture the charm Diana exuded. Instead the script races from one photo opt to the next without giving us a particularly endearing depiction of the Princess of Wales.
It’s hard to pinpoint why the film fizzles. If it was meant to be a tribute to the fashionable royal who died on August 31, 1997, Diana falls dreadfully flat. It seems this big screen biopic could have used a little help from a fairy godmother.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Diana.
Diana says she is used to getting what she wants. Why does she often take action without considering the feelings or opinions of others? What advantages does her worldwide popularity give her? What does she have to give up for it?
What are the challenges of portraying such a well-known person?
What problems can arise in a relationship when one person’s career overshadows that of their partner? Why is Hasnat’s medical profession so important to him?
Learn more out the real Diana.