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'Diana' review round-up: Critics savage Naomi Watts royal biopic

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When Naomi Watts quipped that she might have to leave the country on the release of Diana, we assumed that was because of the potential controversy surrounding the film.

On reading the reviews for the movie, it seems that the reception of Oliver Hirschbiegel's royal biopic has less to do with its subject and more its lack of quality.


Digital Spy's own Emma Dibdin gave the film a two-star thrashing, calling it "mind-bogglingly misjudged" and "too incompetent even to qualify as hagiography", and with some rare exceptions, that's a kinder verdict than the rest of the critical landscape.

Peter Bradshaw - The Guardian
"Poor Princess Diana. I hesitate to use the term 'car crash cinema'. 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."

David Gritten - The Daily Telegraph
"The film is bookended by a redundant piece of lurid sensationalism... ultimately, what's the point of Diana? It's hardly fascinating. It doesn't offer new facts about the Princess's life. And it certainly doesn't explain her complexity or contradictions. That would take a different, better film altogether."

Naomi Watts as Princess Diana and Naveen Andrews as Hasnat Khan

Naomi Watts and Naveen Andrews



Robert Johnson (Royal Editor) - Evening Standard
"The cast, sets and cinematography on this big-budget British movie are excellent... It is a very watchable film - and certainly not the turkey some had dismissed it as even before its release.
The Oscar-nominated Watts gives a brilliant, passionate and believable performance as the tragic heroine Diana."

David Edwards - The Mirror
"Diana can only be described as a fabulously awful film. The Queen of Hearts has been recast as a sad-sack singleton that even Bridget Jones would cross the street to avoid. Charting the two years leading up to her death in 1997, the film's a cheap and cheerless effort that looks like a Channel 5 mid-week matinee."

Geoffrey McNab - The Independent
"Diana works well enough as a dark romantic drama and is far less exploitative than it might have been. Naomi Watts gives an intense and volatile performance as the princess. The problem, though, is that she doesn't really resemble the character she is playing, and the feature shifts wildly in tone."

Kate Muir - The Times
"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'. Even when these lines are delivered by the fragrant Naomi Watts, doing her level best with a squirmingly embarrassing script, this film is still atrocious and intrusive."

Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail
"The trouble is that in being so careful and eager not to offend, the film is a more than a little tedious, with a lightweight, romantic storyline that fails to surprise, let alone sustain a movie that lasts nearly two hours. It has the slightness of a Barbara Cartland novella, but the love affair is treated with ponderous solemnity, as though it were another Gone With The Wind. It's slow and terribly, terribly dull."

Diana opens in UK cinemas on September 20 and on November 1 in the US.

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