Diana (2021) Parent Guide
Devoid of subtlety or nuance, this overlong production is best suited for fans of Princess Diana; not for casual viewers.
Parent Movie Review
Despite the celebrity spotlight that surrounded her in life and in death, Princess Diana remains something of an enigma. Was she a naïve young woman who was deceived by her dour husband and chose to dedicate herself to her children and charitable causes? Was she a clever strategist who wielded her celebrity like a weapon against the Prince of Wales and the Royal Family? Was she a mentally unstable woman whose eating disorders gave her the illusion of control over her life? Or was she a victim, consumed by the media machine that gave her a glittering global image?
Since her death in 1996, books, magazine articles, and TV specials have explored the life and legacy of the People’s Princess. Just as the coronavirus pandemic began, a Broadway musical tried to do the same thing. A performance of Diana is now available to stream on Netflix and you can judge how well you think it succeeded. Do yourself a favor and keep your expectations low.
Broadway shows are designed to “play to the back row”. The message needs to be simple and clear and easily grasped even by people sitting in the nosebleed seats. That makes subtlety and nuance nearly impossible and means that Diana’s story is told here in the broad strokes that we already know.
There are a few bright spots in this bland production, particularly when song lyrics stumble across some insight. As the chorus sings, “She’s the best girl for the worst job in England”, later describing her marriage as “a fairytale born in hell”. The songs are highly expository, illuminating character motivations and backstories, and nimbly moving the story along. They’re not particularly memorable, but they are lively enough. The show also manages to project character growth for Diana, portraying her evolution from clueless nineteen year old to sophisticated woman who understands the power of celebrity. All other characters remain tissue paper thin.
Unless you are absolutely devoted to the memory of Princess Diana, there’s really no reason to sit through a very long two hours of unremarkable singing and dancing. The acting is passable, the wigs could be better, and the staging is forgettable. There is a surprising amount of negative content, including a fair bit of sexual innuendo and frequent excuses for adultery. There is also more profanity than expected and over a dozen substitutions for the sexual expletive along with one real one. The PG-13 rating is deserved and this movie shouldn’t be watched by children. I can’t imagine teens wanting to watch it either, since they have no memory of the frenzy surrounding the late princess. If you collect Diana-related memorabilia – if you’re holding on to books, dishtowels, and mugs emblazoned with her image – this is your cup of tea. But for everyone else scrolling through Netflix’s catalogue in search of a bit of history and a lot of scandal, The Crown is a far better choice.Directed by Christopher Ashley. Starring Jeanna de Waal, Roe Hartrampf, Erin Davie, Judy Kaye. Running time: 117 minutes. Theatrical release October 1, 2021. Updated November 4, 2021
Watch the trailer for Diana (2021)
Rating & Content Info
Why is Diana (2021) rated PG-13? Diana (2021) is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for strong language and for suggestive and thematic material
Violence: A woman punches a pane of glass and blood is seen on her hand.
Sexual Content: A man kisses a married woman. An engaged couple kiss on a few occasions. Song lyrics include a slang term for masturbation. A woman’s virginity is mentioned on a few occasions. There are frequent mentions to adultery. A woman wears her slip in a scene, revealing cleavage. A man calls his wife a “tart”. A man and woman kiss although they’re married to other people. Adultery is frequently justified or excused – and cheating couples re seen in bed. A man is seen shirtless in a suggestive pose. A song features crude sexual innuendo comparing sex to horseback riding. There is mention of AIDS and a scene takes place in an AIDS ward in hospital.
Profanity: There are a dozen terms of deity and another dozen minor profanities. There are two scatological curses and a slang term for sex. There is a single sexual expletive and over a dozen substitutions (eff off, feck, fecking). A crude term for women is used and “bloody” is heard on a few occasions.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults consume alcohol in social settings.
Page last updated November 4, 2021
Diana (2021) Parents' Guide
What do you think is the most valuable part of Princess Diana’s legacy? What do the charities she supported tell you about her? What do you think you would have done in her position?
Harper’s Bazaar: 9 Reasons Princess Diana Was So Much More Than a Style Icon
The New York Times: Diana’s Legacy: A Reshaped Monarchy, a More Emotional UK
Related home video titles:
The Queen examines the reaction of the Royal Family in the days immediately following the death of Princess Diana.
Naomi Watts takes the title role in the Hollywood biopic, Diana.
Viewers looking for an immersive study of the British Royal Family can binge watch Netflix’s series, The Crown, although they should be aware that some episodes in the second season contain scenes of brief nudity and non-explicit sexual activity.