The choice of director Oliver Hirschbiegel, a German whose greatest claim to date was to wonderfully portray the last days of Hitler in ‘Downfall’ as told through the eyes of Traudl Junge, his secretary in the final days in his bunker at the end of WWII was perhaps a strange one to some. The film was nominated for an Academy Award as best foreign film and was widely praised for its faithfulness to the facts, the ability to get inside the character and to observe the power of fan iconic figure and those around them; so perhaps a good choice given Diana’s status, surrounded by myth and the cult of celebrity.
Diana Prince of Wales died in 1997 and there was always going to be a biopic of her in time – well that time is now and Hirschbiegel has made a reverential and sentimental movie that bristles with affection. The story centers on her post-Charles affair with the handsome Pakistani heart-surgeon, Dr Hasnat Khan with Naomi Watts in the titular role adopting Diana’s doe-eyed gaze of seduction as well as the inner demons of loneliness and sadness at her lot.
The Princess' humanitarian efforts and ‘Queen of Hearts’ tag was well documented and here tagged into the soft core look at one the country’s best-loved figures makes for romanticized filmmaking – it is gooey and soft-focused but lovingly made and well-intentioned.