Don’t listen to the Jeremiahs. Don’t listen to the nay-sayers. Listen to your heart.
When it comes to The People’s Princess everyone has a different angle, a separate emotional response. To make a movie of her life, post Charles, is bound to infuriate and disappoint.
And yet Oliver Hirschbiegel’s film is beautifully made, involving actors of the highest quality, truly committed to what they are doing. To suggest for a moment that this is a cheap marketing ploy to cash in on Diana’s tragic story is hard to justify.
By concentrating on the princess’s (Naomi Watts) affair with Dr Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews), a Pakistani heart surgeon, might limit the scope of the scenario, but what it does very cleverly – excellent script from Stephen Jeffrey – is to use the romance as a way of intimating her loneliness, restriction of movement, lack of privacy and pressure from the paparazzi, as well as show, briefly and with telling effect, a side of her character that responded to children and other people’s suffering.
All this is done without sentimentality or deference.
It should have been called, Doctor Doctor: A Love Story, because Hasnat’s relationship with Diana has been recreated intelligently in a way that lives and breathes, fraught with difficulties, both religious and social.
Whatever the truth, whatever the rumour, whatever the prejudice, Diana’s life is open to interpretation from those who never met her. It seems, even in death, she is trapped by ignorance and wish fulfillment.
“Now that I have been loved, I don’t feel lonely anymore,” she tells him. This may sound corny, but it isn’t.
“All you know about is football, jazz and saving people’s lives.” He knows something else.
Public recognition of his liaison with the most famous woman in the world would have had a disastrous effect upon his work.
Diana, the movie, has been unfairly treated, just like the lady herself. Neither deserve it.