News / Arts & Entertainment

Critics Savage 'Cheap and Cheerless' Diana Film as Tawdry Soap

Cast member Naomi Watts of Australia, who plays the title role, signs autographs before the world premiere of
Cast member Naomi Watts of Australia, who plays the title role, signs autographs before the world premiere of "Diana" at Leicester Square in London, Sept. 5, 2013.
Reuters
Film critics have savaged a new movie of the late British Princess Diana's relationship with a Pakistani doctor as an intrusive and embarrassingly cheap soap opera.

British-born Australian actress Naomi Watts plays the jilted princess trapped in a gilded cage. English actor Naveen Andrews is heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, who gives her the love she craves in Diana, which held its world premiere in London on Thursday.

The British tabloids - which followed every twist and turn from Diana's 1981 marriage to Prince Charles, to their divorce and her death in a 1997 Paris car crash - were scathing about the film from German director Oliver Hirschbiegel.

The Queen of Hearts has been recast as a sad-sack singleton that even Bridget Jones would cross the street to avoid,” wrote the Mirror's David Edwards in a one-star review dubbing the film a “cheap and cheerless effort”.


The movie is based on Diana: Her Last Love, a book by author Kate Snell published in 2000, which argues that the estranged wife of the heir to the British throne had a clandestine affair with Khan in the last two years of her life.

Diana focuses on the vignettes of their assignations in hospitals, cars, his flat and Kensington Palace, interspersed with the public Diana campaigning against landmines and giving her infamous 1995 interview about her relationship with Charles in which she said there were “three of us in this marriage”.

The Diana character tells Khan on their first “date” that she loves television soap operas and some of the movie scenes, including their final break-up in a London park in the middle of night could be straight out of one.

The dialog, which includes Persian poetry and lines such as “Now that I have been loved, I don't feel lonely anymore”, has been met with a spate of one-star reviews.

“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,” wrote Kate Muir in the Times newspaper.

Cast member Naveen Andrews, who plays the role of Dr. Hasnat Khan, arrives for the world premiere of
Cast member Naveen Andrews, who plays the role of Dr. Hasnat Khan, arrives for the world premiere of "Diana" at Leicester Square in London, Sept. 5, 2013.
Memories

The world's press continue to rake over Diana's life 16 years after she died, with British tabloids this week screaming about a conspiracy theory involving the special forces and a royal cousin calling Diana “spiteful” in Vanity Fair.
The real-life Hasnat Khan vowed in August he would never watch the film, saying it is all based on hypotheses and gossip.

Watts told Reuters from a thinly attended red carpet that she was concerned about what Diana's sons, Princes William and Harry, might think of the film if they were to see it.

“If they do I hope they feel that we have been respectful and upheld her memories in the best possible way,” she told Reuters Television.

Majesty magazine Managing Editor Joe Little told Reuters the royal family would continue to maintain a dignified silence that has surrounded Diana since a 2007 tribute concert.

“You could regard it as another hijacking of her memory,” he said. “All they can do is shrug their shoulders and not comment.”

Director Oliver Hirschbiegel reacts before the world premiere of
Director Oliver Hirschbiegel reacts before the world premiere of "Diana" at Leicester Square in London, Sept. 5, 2013.

Hirschbiegel, who made the Oscar nominated Downfall about the last days of Hitler, compared Diana to 1953's romantic comedy Roman Holiday and 1965 epic drama Dr. Zhivago.

“'Brief Encounter' I think is very close ... there is a love there that can't be lived and yet they love each other so much,” he told Reuters.

But the Guardian's Peter Bradshaw's review was a lot less lofty.

“The awful truth is that, 16 years after that terrible day in 1997, Diana has died another awful death.”

You May Like

US States Where Women Work for Free

Women earn less than men in all 50 states More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows Fight to Death Against IS

In wide-ranging interview, Fuad Masum describes new type of fight that will take time to win More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”