Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave is leading the 2013 awards season bustle after a strong reception from the festival circuit; meanwhile, on the opposite end of the spectrum is the Princess Diana of Wales memoir/biopic, simply titled Diana. The latter film employs the tried-and-true approach of casting a lead who’s not yet been recognized by the Academy for their impressive body of work (Naomi Watts, in this case), married together with a screenplay that promises to expose the hard truth (warts and all) about a famous historical public figure.
Stephen Jeffreys’ (The Libertine) Diana script is based upon the international best-selling book Diana: Her Last Love written by Kate Snell, which focuses heavily on the whirlwind romantic relationship that formed between Diana and Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan (played by Naveen Andrews in the movie adaptation) during the last two years in the Princess’ life.
A newly-released U.S. trailer for Diana covers much of the same narrative ground as that international trailer from a couple months ago – with all the histrionics and souped-up dramatic beats that people associate with the term “Oscar bait” (but not in a good way, in this case). Question is, does the actual movie feel less like a calculated Oscar grab and more genuinely compassionate in its portrayal of its namesake – than the trailer seems to indicate, that is?
Diana was helmed by German filmmaker Oliver Hirschbiegel, whose previous directorial efforts include the well-received Adolf Hitler-centered drama Downfall – otherwise known as the movie that inspired the “Hitler Reacts” videos on Youtube. Unfortunately, the reviews for Diana suggest that Hirschbiegel’s new film doesn’t even require alternate subtitles to become laughable, judging by the hostile response from UK critics so far.
U.S. reviewers, by comparison, are a bit more level-headed in their reactions, but with sites like THR asserting that Diana is “halfway between a guilty pleasure and a missed opportunity” and Variety reporting that the movie “[avoids] the pitfall of tastelessness [only to hit] an even more perilous roadblock: dullness,” it’s hard to not worry that Diana will soon be joining the list of biopics that tried too hard to win awards and failed (be it the fault of the filmmakers, cast, studio heads or a combo of the three).
All the awards season talk aside, how does Diana look to you? Will you be checking this slice of history out in theaters – or waiting until you can watch the Princess’ tragic romance unfold on your television at home?
Diana begins a theatrical release in the U.S. on November 1st, 2013.
Source: Yahoo! Movies
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