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Still shot from the movie: Diana.

Diana

Naomi Watts takes on the challenge of playing Diana, Princess of Wales. Rather than a full biography, the film focuses on the popular British royal's secret love affair with Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews). Get the movie review and more. »

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Overall: C 2.0
Violence: B-
Sexual Content: C
Language: D+
Drugs/Alcohol: C
Run Time: 113
Theater Release: 01 Nov 2013
Video Release: 11 Feb 2014
MPAA Rating: PG-13
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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.

Diana is rated PG-13: for brief strong language, some sensuality and smoking.

Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel
Cast: Naomi Watts, Naveen Andrews, Douglas Hodge
Studio: 2013 e-One
Website: Official site for Diana.

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About the Reviewer: Kerry Bennett

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