Metascore
35

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 28
  2. Negative: 13 out of 28
  1. 63
    Watts masters Diana’s look — the way she carried her head and used those wide, coyly expressive eyes — but is only passable at impersonating the voice.
  2. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Oct 31, 2013
    60
    Anchored by Ms. Watts’s sympathetic performance, it humanizes the woman behind the smile, the helmet hair and the myth.
  3. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    Oct 31, 2013
    60
    Flawed yet intimate, Diana respects its subject's hopes, strengths, weaknesses and legacy and, in the extraordinary Watts, boasts a formidably empathetic advocate.
  4. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Oct 29, 2013
    60
    Watts’s work is extraordinary, sometimes keying off the same illicit register as "Mulholland Drive"; she risks being goofy, awkward and bratty.
  5. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Nov 1, 2013
    50
    In truth, the only hazardous material to be found in Diana - the title role assumed bravely, if mistakenly, by Naomi Watts - is the screenplay.
  6. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Oct 31, 2013
    50
    It's a gallant battle against flawed material, and Hirschbiegel fights it to a draw.
  7. Reviewed by: Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
    Oct 31, 2013
    50
    There’s a germ of a smart biopic in Diana; the problem is that it’s tucked away behind a clunky structure and even clunkier dialogue.
  8. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Oct 31, 2013
    50
    It’s a fractured fairy tale, penned in clunky strokes.
  9. Reviewed by: Amy Nicholson
    Oct 29, 2013
    50
    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.
  10. Reviewed by: Kate Erbland
    Nov 2, 2013
    42
    The result is a film that grows worse with each passing minute, as the vibrant and complex Diana is reduced down to a daft, dumbstruck love addict, a biopic that tries desperately to humanize an already beloved and relatable human being and makes her look comically idiotic and empty in the process.
  11. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Nov 8, 2013
    40
    The story of her life is pretty well-known. But in Diana, it’s not particularly well told.
  12. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Oct 31, 2013
    40
    The amusements here are mostly of the unintentional kind.
  13. Reviewed by: Stephen Dalton
    Sep 11, 2013
    40
    Halfway between a guilty pleasure and a missed opportunity, it makes the crucial mistake of treating curious viewers like deferential subjects, demanding far more sympathy than it deserves.
  14. Reviewed by: David Gritten
    Sep 9, 2013
    40
    It’s hardly fascinating. It doesn’t offer new facts about the Princess’s life. And it certainly doesn’t explain her complexity or contradictions.
  15. Reviewed by: Charles Gant
    Sep 9, 2013
    40
    While mostly swerving past the pitfall of tastelessness, this sincerely intended account of the last two years of Princess Diana’s life risks an even more perilous roadblock: dullness.
  16. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Nov 2, 2013
    38
    Sixteen years after her death, Princess Diana is still capable of generating interest, which is probably the only reason why this dull, pointless movie was greenlighted.
  17. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Oct 31, 2013
    38
    This wrongheaded biopic that bears her name does nothing to burnish her legacy. In fact, the tedious movie lacks any insight into the characters involved, and surely would have the late Princess of Wales rolling in her grave. And it can't be easy on her sons to see their mother depicted in such a one-dimensional fashion.
  18. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Oct 31, 2013
    38
    Hirschbiegel and Watts don’t have the nerve for camp. Even a scene of a rejected Diana back at Kensington, forlornly playing Bach at her piano while mascara streams down her face, is played gloomily straight.
  19. Reviewed by: Louis Black
    Nov 20, 2013
    30
    Ultimately, it is as though this is a Disney film – The Princess and the Doctor – not a real life biopic.
  20. Reviewed by: Ali Arikan
    Nov 1, 2013
    25
    This narcissistic quality is the film's true undoing.
  21. Reviewed by: Stephanie Merry
    Oct 31, 2013
    25
    Diana isn’t just an egregious case of rewriting history, but one of oversimplifying it.
  22. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Oct 31, 2013
    25
    The schmaltzy Diana is directed at a dirge-like pace by German director Oliver Hirschbiegel, whose film “Downfall’’ depicted the final days of Hitler and provided one of the Internet’s most enduring memes.
  23. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Nov 1, 2013
    20
    You certainly won’t learn anything of interest about the Princess of Wales in Oliver Hirschbiegel’s misguided new biopic. But Diana can be declared a success in one regard — its vacant inanity serves to remind us of the perpetual indignities forced upon this unlucky Lady.
  24. Reviewed by: Cath Clarke
    Sep 18, 2013
    20
    A right royal mess.
  25. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    Sep 16, 2013
    20
    More terrible and tacky than one could have imagined, it will soon be forgotten and consigned to the True Movies channel to play alongside television movies about Karen Carpenter, Jayne Mansfield and Jackie Kennedy.
  26. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Sep 6, 2013
    20
    Poor Princess Diana. I hesitate to use the term "car crash cinema". But the awful truth is that, 16 years after that terrible day in 1997, she has died another awful death.
  27. Reviewed by: Kevin Jagernauth
    Oct 31, 2013
    16
    A thoroughly dull, conventional tale of two people who can't find a compromise on their individual priorities to be together.
  28. Reviewed by: Eric Henderson
    Nov 8, 2013
    12
    Are the micro-biopics that don't even bother to provide overviews of their famed subjects' entire lives, but instead lean on the spectacle of celebrity impersonation, the new camp?
User Score
3.6

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 31 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 11
  2. Negative: 5 out of 11
  1. Nov 1, 2013
    0
    German director Oliver Hirschbiegel has made a puzzling contribution to the oeuvre of films about Diana, the late Princess of Wales. His new film, simply titled Diana, is very narrowly focused. Set during the last two years of Diana’s life, the picture highlights Diana’s (Naomi Watts) relationship with a London-based Pakistani heart surgeon, Dr. Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews). Hirschbiegel directed 2004’s critically acclaimed Downfall, so this misstep is both surprising and disappointing. The picture plays like a made-for-TV movie (appropriate perhaps for Lifetime), and does nothing to make the viewer remember Diana with any fondness or respect. In Hirschbiegel’s depiction, in fact, Diana comes across as nothing more than a mopey, love-starved teenager. She tries to immerse herself in her new boyfriend’s interests, buying a copy of Gray’s Anatomy and listening to jazz albums (jazz is his favorite). She cooks for him (if microwaving the pasta your assistant prepares in advance counts as cooking) and sneaks around so she can see him, donning a long black wig so she can dance in discos to “West End Girls” with him and sit by his side in groovy jazz clubs. She gossips idly to her acupuncturist friend about him, and even sneaks into his apartment after a fight to make it up to him by cleaning his entire apartment. These scenes are no doubt meant to convey the lengths Diana will go to for her crush (the Princess of Wales vacuuming and washing dirty dishes? Really?), but, instead, they just make her seem prosaic and sort of desperate; they are an odd contrast to the scenes of her engaged in her more serious charity work (landmine victims, HIV funding), which are presented almost as side elements to the main love interest plot, which seems backwards. Andrews fares better as Dr. Khan; in fact, between the two characters, in this picture, he comes across as the more interesting of the two. Whereas Diana has an almost unfathomable life of wealth and privilege, Dr. Kahn is earning a Ph.D. and spends long hours at the hospital, performing technically difficult and life-saving surgeries. He’s aware that a life with Diana would mean he would be so in the public eye that he could no longer pursue his passion. On top of that, his Pakistani family refuses to give their blessing to a union with Diana; not only is she not Pakistani and not a Muslim, but they, too, do not want to be unwittingly thrust into the public spotlight. Andrews conveys Hasnat’s conflicted feelings well; he’s alternately charmed by Diana and frustrated by her, and he really is the one with the major dilemma give up his life’s work for romance with a princess, at the cost of his family’s approval? You really can’t blame the guy when he expresses reservations to Diana. Naomi Watts’s portrayal of Diana doesn’t help matters much, either; for one thing, she bears virtually no resemblance to the Princess, so whenever she’s face front on screen, it’s a distraction. It’s hard to engage in the story when all you can think is, “here’s Naomi Watts pretending to be Diana.” The filmmakers must have realized this problem, too, as for almost the first quarter of the film, Watts is shot either from the back (with good posture and the right hair cut, any tall, slim, blonde woman can be taken for Diana from behind) or from a profile view. Watts imbues Diana with a wounded, coquettish manner that, instead of eliciting empathy, just makes her seem sort of insipid and vacuous. You want to tell her to forget about the doctor and just concentrate on her humanitarian work, which she enjoyed, was good at, and which earned her the love and respect of her country. According to this film, though, such inner rewards weren’t enough for Diana; like a girl not asked to the prom, all she really wanted was the cute boy she liked so, so much. Writer Stephen Jeffreys also doesn’t help matters much; his screenplay calls for an inordinate amount of time to be spent on Diana and Hasnat looking into each other’s eyes as soulful French music plays on the soundtrack. And Watts and Andrews are both saddled with clunky, heavy-handed dialog: “You don’t perform the operation; the operation performs you,” is one gem Hasnat condescendingly drops on Diana to describe his work. Diana, meanwhile often seems to be reading lines out of a Harlequin novel, lamenting how she’ll never be happy, and flirtatiously asking her cardiac surgeon boyfriend deep questions like, “Can hearts actually break?” When we walked out of the film, my friend asked me “Who do you think this film is for?” It’s a good question. If you know nothing about Diana, this film seems like a poor introduction; you walk out of it thinking less of, not more of her, which I’m sure was not the filmmakers’ intent, but is the unfortunate result of a weak script and a central one-note performance. Even if you are a huge fan and follower of the royals, Diana’s story has been covered so extensively that this stupid movie sucks. Full Review »
  2. Apr 5, 2014
    9
    My expectations were low. Many reviews were unflattering and I never cared for for the fetish of British royalty. However this film turned out to be a moving love story made by a wonderful director and staring one of the best actresses in recent years.. Full Review »
  3. Feb 4, 2014
    9
    First thing is that this is a Film saying something about feelings of a woman, longing for Love and not merely a TV Documentry or a Biopic with real life clippings..so its best not to expect that !!This Famous saying by poet Rumi...”Somewhere between right
    and wrong there is a garden…I will meet you there”. That’s the garden of love,
    where Diana wanted to go to. The film says a lot about the private life of
    Diana, which I guess has been researched on some hard facts. Young Lioness..One
    of the most beautiful women of all times…had the whole world in her palm yet
    she yearned for The one thing, that is a
    gift of only the fortunate- LOVE…She was denied that from her rebound affair
    with (one in a million) heart Surgeon- Dr.Khan, who realistically and logically,
    choose his career and family over her…only
    because she was a princess. But sadly Dr.Khan did not know that love is not to be
    analysed from the head …But FELT from the heart, which was what Diana felt…always
    from her Heart !! What I gather from the
    Film is that…Despite what was expected from the world’s most important woman at
    that time, from the Society, Royalty, Paparazzi
    and the World at large… she tried her best to Just come out of those clutches
    of Royalty to which she had wed into… Yet it seems like No one wanted to see
    her in any different image other than Princess Diana…Queen of England ! I feel there is that one dialogue from the
    movie- Notting hill by Julia Roberts, which best fits at the END…where Diana
    probably might want to have said to the world that…After all... I'm just a
    girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her!! …R.I.P. Diana.
    Full Review »