Film review: Diana - a royal encounter to make the heart sink

(12A), Dir. Oliver Hirschbiegel. Starring Naomi Watts, Naveen Andrews, 113 mins

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The Independent Culture

Based on a 2000 book called Diana: Her Last Love, this insipid biographical drama tells the story of the doomed romance with a British Pakistani heart surgeon, Hasnat Kahn (Naveen Andrews), that apparently consumed the Queen of our Hearts (Naomi Watts) during the last two years of her life.

In fact, the factual accuracy of this story has been disputed, not least by Mr Kahn himself. But even if it hadn't, the film fails to convince us on any level. Watts's impersonation is technically proficient, and if any of the things that her character said or did in private rang true, it might have been possible to suspend one's disbelief.

But every character is psychologically inert, and the dialogue is leaden, trite and needlessly explanatory. "When I visit hospitals, I get excited," she says. And: "I'm like most people. I have a mobile phone."

And: "Now that I've been loved, I don't feel lonely any more." Other characters don't fare any better: "You're the most famous woman in the world," Kahn tells her. And, with clunking irony: "Your life is ahead of you."