Critics Slam Princess Diana Movie: 'She Has Died Another Awful Death'
The first reviews are in for the biopic Diana, starring Naomi Watts as the beloved "People's Princess," and they are brutal.
The film premiered last night in London and U.K. critics who have seen it are, predictably, not taking the often fictionalized depiction of Princess Di well.
"Poor Princess Diana. I hesitate to use the term 'car crash cinema,'" writes The Guardian. "But the awful truth is that, 16 years after that terrible day in 1997, she has died another awful death. This is due to an excruciatingly well-intentioned, reverential and sentimental biopic about her troubled final years, laced with bizarre cardboard dialogue—a tabloid fantasy of how famous and important people speak in private."
Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw continues, "Is this film an MI5 plot to blacken Diana's name and make her look plastic and absurd? The movie is [like] a horrendous Fifty Shades of Grey with the S&M sex taken out—and replaced with paparazzi intrusion and misunderstood charity work."
The film posits that Diana, who died in the tragic crash in Paris alongside her then-love Dodi Fayed, was actually using Fayed to make her real love, Pakistani heart surgeon Dr. Hasnat Khan, jealous. Khan—who is played by Naveen Andrews (Sayid on Lost)—told the Daily Mail last month that the film is "based on hypotheses and gossip." He hasn't seen it, and doesn't intend to. He said that the story, based on Kate Snell's book, Diana: Her Last Love, is "a complete lie. I have never given any approval."
Critics especially cringed over the terrible, Lifetime-y dialogue. The Times of London's reviewer lamented the "squirmingly embarrassing script," noting, "There are a number of lines you never, ever want to hear Diana, Princess of Wales say, and they include: 'I love feeling your hand there,' and 'Yes, I've been a mad bitch.'"
Most don't fault the previously Oscar-nominated Watts (who wore a prosthetic nose for the part), although The Mirror, who called the film "cheap and cheerless," wrote, "Despite a peroxide hair-job, she looks, sounds and acts nothing like the Princess of Wales. Wesley Snipes in a blonde wig would be more convincing."
The film is directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, whose previous work includes the much-respected (and much-memed) Hitler biopic Downfall.) It opens in the U.S. on November 1st.
Perhaps critics will be kinder when Watts's BFF, Nicole Kidman, debuts as actress-turned-royalty Grace Kelly in the upcoming Grace of Monaco. Nah, they'll probably have their knives out for that one as well.