'Diana' Reviews - Critics are Sympathetic but Ultimately Damning of Royal Biopic
They weren't cruel, but 'Diana' certainly didn't impress.
Given the late Princess Diana’s status as an Icon in the U.K, reviews for her biopic, in which Naomi Watts plays the titular character, were always going to be scrutinised closely by readers. It’s possibly testament to how bad the film is that the critics have at least attempted to remain impartial.
Naomi Watts as Diana.
Indeed, many of the film’s criticisms – and there are plenty – stem from the sheer breadth of her story. From peacekeeping in the third world to her untimely and tragic death, it’s not a tale that can be easily conveyed in a cinematic format. Certainly not in 1h53m.
Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian called it “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,” awarding the film one star in his review.
“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,” said The Telegraph, while Digital Spy said: “In trying desperately (and understandably) to portray Diana accurately and reverentially, Watts has neglected to portray a person.”
Perhaps the most sympathetic was The Independent, who gave the film three stars – the highest review score we saw. “Perhaps, Hirschbiegel could have made a stronger film if he hadn’t been lumbered with the baggage that the real Diana brings and had simply told a fictional story about a love affair between a princess and an outsider. That, though, would have defeated the purpose,” went their review.