I’m glad there is no good Diana biopic
Today is a sad day. 31st of August marks the 20th anniversary of the untimely death of Diana, princess of Wales. Her death at the age of just 37 came as a shock, and stunned not just the British nation, but the whole world. Everyone pretty much remembers where they were and what were they doing when they heard about her death. I woke up and begged my mother to take my school supply shopping before the start of the new school year, but I actually forgot it was Sunday and nothing was actually open. So as I was having my breakfast, breaking news came on the TV that princess Diana died.
I remember my mom saying… Oh and she was so young and pretty. And yes… she was. She was gorgeous. She was also mother, sister, aunt, humanitarian, a style icon and ex member of the British royalty. She maybe lost her HRH title, but she remained a „Princess of the hearts“ to millions of fans and admirers around the world. Her critics would say that she was well to do young girl who married even better and thus secured her future. And yes they would be correct. With great titles came great privileges. Her critics would also say that she was trapped in the hell of her own making, AKA loveless marriage, the affairs, the eating disorders and the subsequent divorce. And yeah… that is also true if you look outside the fairytale bubble that the media loved to portray.
But hey… enough about her life and death. I want to talk about her movies. Well… not so much her movies… But movies that were made about her. There are plenty of course. Documentaries and feature films but although they are big on the numbers, I’m afraid they are so small on the quality.
There was the TV movie Diana: Last Days of a Princess, in which Diana was portrayed by Genevieve O’Reilly, and Diana: Her True Story way before that. Serena Scott Thomas played Diana in the 1993 TV movie that was received poorly as the others. Charles and Diana: Unhappily Ever After focused on the disintegration of her marriage to Prince Charles, and The Queen dealt with the Royal family’s dealing with the grief and expectations from the public after Diana’s death.
Although it was a fantastic movie, and Helen Mirren was brilliant as the Queen Elizabeth II, the movie portrayed the events after her Death but from the perspective of the Royall family and then Prime minister Tony Blair. There much potential in Oliver Hirschbiegel’s Diana at first. Based on Kate Snell’s book Diana: Her Last Love the movie had several good points on paper. A young and talented director behind the camera, and the outstanding Naomi Watts in the title role. The movie did so poorly that even Naomi Watts described the movie as „a sinking ship“.
But let me tell you why I’m glad there is not good biopic about her. Nobody knew her well enough to make a quality piece of art about her. We all think that we know every little detail about her, but nobody really knew her. 20 years after her death we just know the basics. The surface.The Unhappy marriage, her courtship and divorce from Charles, her public image and battle with the paparazzi’s and of course her battle with bulimia. That’s the first layer of the onion. We need to peal many many leers to get to the good stuff, and maybe then someone will make a decent movie about her.