The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

As harmless as it gets

with 14 comments

Diana“I’ve got a new Barbie doll. She’s pretty. It’s Diana!”

“Oooh! Lucky you. I want to play with her!”

“OK, let’s do that. So here’s Diana going home from her job”.

“What’s her job?”

“I don’t know. Being famous I suppose.”

“Her shoes are pretty. So high heels! And she can walk in them. I don’t know anyone who can walk like that. When I borrow mum’s shoes I fall all the time”.

“She was in a princess school. They teach them to walk like princesses there.”

“OK, now she’s home what happens now?”

“Hm… She’ll take off her shoes and put on her pyjama. I think… she’s a little sad. She feels lonely”.

“Poor Diana”.


“She needs a prince.”

“Nooooo! The prince is evil! Don’t you remember? You can’t trust a prince.”

“OK; he’s not a prince… He’s a… doctor!”

They met at the hospital and he saves lives and Diana wants to do that too and now they kiss…”


“But they can’t tell anyone”.


“I don’t know…The prince will get angry maybe. Anyway they have to hide.”

“Yes! Let’s play masquerade! So Diana put on a wig and no one recognises her!”

“Cool! And then they go to a hamburger restaurang”.

“And Diana didn’t know what to do because she’s just lived in a palace where they have all those cooks and eat on golden plats. So she’s like “What’s this?”

“They should marry.”

“The doctor? No, they can’t. His mother doesn’t like her.”

“Awww. Poor Diana!”

And so on. I think you get it.

No smell or taste
Diana is not a terrible movie. But it makes me think of Barbie dolls. It doesn’t smell anything, it doesn’t taste much, and it leaves you without a trace. Void of a soul, void of everything that resembles to a personality. It’s a Diana made in plastic, designed to do as little harm as possible, not making anyone upset.

It must be hard to make a more interesting movie about Diana at this point. In the movie they barely touched upon the relationship with her sons at all. It’s understandable. It would feel disrespectful to put out their personal tragedies at display, to be devoured by a crowd hungry for sensations.

I think this movie will work well enough for fans of Diana who want to see something nice about her.  At its best it’s got a touch of Notting Hill where the Princess Star meets the Man of the People (as much as you can be considered a man of the people when you’re a heart surgeon and a member of a wealthy family). There are a few scenes where Diana tries to do things that normal people do, such as cooking and vacuuming, that are somewhat sweet. And being hopelessly romantic, I can never hear Jacques Brel singing Ne me quitte pas without tearing up a bit.

But unless you’re a Diana devotee, determined to collect every doll there is, my advice is to skip over this one.

Diana (Oliver Hirschbiegel, UK 2013) My rating: 2/5

Written by Jessica

September 12, 2013 at 1:00 am

Posted in Diana

14 Responses

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  1. I wanted to see this because of Naomi Watts. Now, I realize why the critics in Britain hate it. Shame.


    September 12, 2013 at 1:36 am

    • I love Naomi Watts. She was brilliant in The Impossible. She’s fine here too I think, but the problem is the chosen story and perspective. It’s hard to bring anything interesting into it.


      September 12, 2013 at 8:13 am

  2. Excellent take, and you already know that I don’t disagree with you. A very clean and thoroughly unsurprising biopic. And I didn’t even have Jaques Brel to sweeten the deal.


    September 12, 2013 at 6:10 am

    • Thanks. That song was actually pretty over-the-top and out-of-place in the context, but a good song is still a good song.


      September 12, 2013 at 8:16 am

  3. Great post (loved that introduction). Haven’t seen it yet but judging from your post, I wouldn’t have expected it to be bland. Such a shame. Still, I’ll watch because I adore Naomi.


    September 12, 2013 at 6:54 am

    • Thanks! It’s incredibly bland. But who would dare to make anything else in UK? I think you’d risk to be lynched.


      September 12, 2013 at 8:17 am

      • Right! haha, you don’t mess with Diana! Even over here everyone adores her.


        September 12, 2013 at 3:30 pm

  4. I couldn’t see this being anything other than bland to be honest. There’s a story here to tell but unfortunately it’s the one that will probably forever be shrouded in mystery and conspiracy theories. It would probably make a better documentary to be honest. I shall be skipping this one.

    Terry Malloy's Pigeon Coop

    September 12, 2013 at 9:51 am

    • Yes, a fearless documentary would definitely be much more interesting.
      I think this movie is a decent choice if you’re on cross-Atlantic airplane trip and need something to pass your time that doesn’t demand your full attention all the time. You won’t miss anything when the air hostesses bring you coffee.


      September 12, 2013 at 10:04 am

  5. Watts looks perfect for the role but I think I will skip this one. I don’t take to films that pander to the royal family. I wouldn’t mind if so much if they were a big edgy but they very rarely are.

    Mark Walker

    September 12, 2013 at 10:03 am

    • She’s good for the role, definitely. And I think your decision to skip this one is corrrect. From all I know about your taste for movies I think you’d find it bland and way too kind towards the royalties.


      September 12, 2013 at 10:05 am

  6. Not one I have any desire to see. Portrayals of Diana always leave me profoundly dispirited.


    September 12, 2013 at 10:57 am

  7. […] det gäller filmer från Malmö Filmdagar var vi fler som såg spektaklet. Däremot har Fiffi och Jessica tagit det långa benet före och redan publicerat sina […]

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