Diana is a Lifetime movie in sensible pumps, at once too silly to be taken seriously, yet so self-serious it rarely allows us to giggle. The British press hates it, but Americans simply don't care enough about the royal legacy to muster up serious outrage at scenes where the pampered princess Diana (Naomi Watts) gets horoscope advice from her masseuse and blinks in astonishment to learn that a hamburger is something you can cook at home. Watts plays her as awkward and uncertain as a teenage girl -- which, psychologically, she still sort of was. You're forgiven for assuming her love interest here is Dodi Fayed, the Harrods heir who spent August 1997 squiring the world's most photographed woman on his yacht. Nope, Diana is about her other beau, Pakistani doctor Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews), who was so determined to keep his private life private that what split the couple up after two years was secrecy itself. The Fayeds would be thrilled if Hirschbiegel, who also bowdlerized the Borgias for Canal+, made this film about them. Dr. Khan is not. As for us, we're mixed. No one could mistake Diana for a psychologically piercing drama. But at least it doesn't flatten the princess out to a lovelorn heroine. She's at turns petty, excitable, stalkerish, and sincere -- too naïve to know better than to break into Khan's apartment and wash his dishes (a scene that provoked loud snorting at a press screening), yet crafty enough to think she could get away with using her paparazzi friends to make him jealous by, say, posing soulfully on the diving board of Fayed's boat.
Oliver HirschbiegelNaomi Watts, Naveen Andrews, Lee Asquith-Coe, Cas Anvar, Geraldine JamesStephen JeffreysRobert Bernstein, Douglas RaeeOne Films