Critics savage 'cheap and cheerless' Diana film as tawdry soap

Fri Sep 6, 2013 8:15am EDT
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By Paul Casciato

LONDON (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 - who 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 dialogue, 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.   Continued...

Cast member Naomi Watts of Australia, who plays the title role, arrives for the world premiere of "Diana" at Leicester Square in London, September 5, 2013. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez