For all the talent that Naomi Watts possesses, it’s highly disappointing that she is in yet another clunker with this movie – the last movie I watched of hers, Adore, was the worst movie of 2013 for me. It’s early in the year yet for Diana, but I hope that this is the worst of this year as well because it was awfully painful to watch.
The first issue with Diana is that the script is unbelievably boring and composed of minute, non-cohesive snippets. While focusing on Diana’s affair with Hasnat Khan and her jump into a more visible humanitarian presence should be interesting, the script never feels like it comes together enough to seamlessly connect the two. What’s worse is that neither aspect is really well-plotted in the movie. At times, it was confusing, but mostly you just couldn’t muster up enough excitement to care.
As poor as the script was, the directing was equally as bad. It is impossible to understand how a film on one of the most interesting women in the past few decades could have such little verve and so few iconic scenes. I especially hated how the director handled the beginning of the movie because it just did not make sense, did not add anything to the movie and, in fact, made it look cheaper than it should be.
I wouldn’t say that the acting was horrible, but nobody in this film had anything good to work with, especially with some of the terrible lines they had to utter. Terrible lines also lent itself to terrible characterization. Diana came off as equally “besotted schoolgirl”, “passionate do-gooder” and “sort-of-psychotic partner”. In real life, she may have been all or none of these things, as all personalities are complex. But the transitions between these character traits need to be believable and need to be rooted in something. By not putting an effort into doing this, the film sadly maintains Diana as a caricature of a character, rather than humanizing her and telling her story the way they probably wanted to.
Everything about Diana felt like a high-school film project, with its laughably bad script, boring and sometimes unfathomable directing choices, stilted dialogue and acting, and very poor attempts at characterization. A fan or not of the late princess, you owe it to yourself to skip this one.