The movie opens with a black screen, a city name and a date.
August 31, 1997.
You could hear a pin drop in the cinema and I would bet that every person there was thinking back to that day (it was day here in Australia). …. the day Diana, Princess of Wales died.
We see the swarms of paparazzi that followed her every move. There are a few minutes of the now infamous footage of Diana’s last elevator journey to take her to the waiting car. The movie then goes back to two years earlier.
Diana (Watts) is living a lonely half life. Still married to Charles but living separate lives, she is in dangerous and unprecedented territory. She can not stay where she is neither can she move forward. She has little access to her children and finds some degree of solitude in her charity work. But she is still a young woman and as such, has the wants, needs and desires of a young woman.
During a visit with a friend’s husband in hospital, she meets Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan (Andrews). Diana is smitten and so begins a two-year long love affair that was, for the most part, a secret from the world. Khan is a very private man and being in love with ‘the most famous woman in the world’ is difficult for him. It is difficult for both of them.
There is much speculation as to the truth of this romance, just as there is speculation as to just how involved Diana was with Dodi Fayed. There are also questions as to the involvement Diana had in letting the paparazzi know where to photograph her during her private moments. Diana and everything about her life will always be open to speculation, there is no escaping this fact.
This is a love story, plain and simple. Nothing more, nothing less. It paints the Princess in a very favourable light, naturally, but it does not shy away from nods to her manipulations of not only the press but those around her.
I had read so many negative reviews that I was not really looking forward to this movie…….and I am a Diana fan from way back. I remember watching transfixed, as did all girls my age, as this lovely young woman, swathed in ivory silk, walked up that endless aisle of St Paul’s Cathedral and walked out a Princess. Then she had a perfect baby boy. Then another one. Truly this was a living breathing fairytale. Little did we know …..
So no, I was not keen on seeing this one.
But you must ignore those critics. Sure the dialogue was a bit dull in places and Watt’s bared little facial resemblance to Diana but so what. I am sure no one was expecting a torrid romp in the hay …. could you even imagine the horror. And we know so much about her, it is difficult not to draw comparisons to what we think we know and what perhaps really did happen.
The very fact that even 16 years after her death, many can still identify what she was doing or where she by the clothes she wore shows the remarkable impact this woman had on the world. That I could hear quiet tears in the cinema and that as I meandered through the foyer after the movie, all I could hear were chats about Diana. Everyone is talking about the movie….. and everyone will be talking about it when it is released in a few week’s time.
Ignore the critics. It is a lovely movie about two people from very different worlds falling in love. Will there be awards? No. Will there be glory and critical acclaim? No. But there will be millions of people who will go and see this and wonder what could have been….. just how Diana would cope as a grandmother to little Prince George.
Diana’s whole life was a little bit sad and I for one hope with all my heart that this romance is true. That someone did love Diana as much as this movie says Khan did……because she deserved to be loved like that.
Love Flick xx
Director : Oliver Hirschbiegel
Starring : Naomi Watts, Naveen Andrews, Douglas Hodge, Geraldine James, Charles Edwards, Daniel Pirrie, Cas Anvar, Juliet Stevenson, Jonathan Kerrigan
Running Time : 113minutes
Release Date : October 10