Black Mariah, Here….


The new movie, Diana, releases in theaters today.  The feature length film, starring Naomi Watts as the Princess of Wales, focuses on Diana’s romantic life after separating from Prince Charles. No matter how much you already know about Diana’s post royal love life, the movie Diana will take you on a journey oddly devoid of steamy love scenes and any convincing chemistry between the characters. Steamy love scenes are to be expected in a film based on a love affair, yes?  The story was already there; Diana and Hasnat, a real life Romeo and Juliet, complete with meddling families, two lovers who just can’t seem to seal the deal, and tragic death!  Somehow this movie managed to miss the mark, unless that mark was to make a dry romantic comedy.

The movie is a biopic focused on the relationship between Diana and Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan. The first oddity of this film is the truncated courtship between our two star crossed lovers. Hasnat and Diana meet when her father is admitted into a hospital for heart failure, and Hasnat is the attending Dr.  The movie shows that a meeting of the eyes between Hasnat and Diana whilst being given sad news about her father’s condition was the moment the two initiated interest. Diana manages to meet him again in the elevator while leaving the hospital, then admits she is excited by hospitals and was just poking around. Really? Who is this person? Her father is recovering from heart surgery and she is poking around a hospital to find Hasnat? She finds attraction in her father’s heart surgeon and wastes no emotion on her father, completely focused on chasing tail? This aspect of the plot seems not only unconventional, but also unrealistic regarding human emotion and anyone’s priorities through family health crisis.

The aspects of Diana’s life that do seem plausible in this film are the royal family expectations of her, and the diminished time she was allowed to spend with her children after the split with Prince Charles. The film also does a great job of framing Diana’s charitable endeavors. In these moments, we see that Diana is not a vapid photo op, but really learned to manipulate the press to her advantage to get her issues and concerns published and to the attention of the world. It is clear that Diana was well aware of the fame that being the Princess of Wales brought to her, and for her time, really had the world at her fingertips.


The struggle between Diana and Hasnat pursuing a relationship all under the focal length of a camera lens seemed the most plausible aspect of this film, albeit a frustrating struggle. Hasnat, a medical professional who’s last interest is fame, is torn between the deep love he has developed for the most famous woman in the world, and his private professional life which can be easily distracted by headlines and paparazzi. Hasnat’s Pakistani family also seems to value his heritage and professional career over his choice in love. Throughout the affair, Hasnat claims he can’t be with Diana because of the reasons listed above yet continues rekindling their flame. Every time the two fight and break up, he seems to blame Diana for the many reasons they cannot be together, whether it be her fame and his need for privacy and focus, or the fact that she is not what his family envisioned for a wife. Either way, Hasnat is the source of much pain for Diana, as she always reminds him of the fact that he knew who she was when he pursued the relationship.

This film also takes an interesting turn when Hasnat and Diana break up for good, and depicts Diana in a manipulative stalker type of role. Diana tries the direct approach to win Hasnat back by calling and leaving messages, sending messages to his job, the usual route, but when that doesn’t bring Hasnat back, she resorts to dating another man and making the affair public to incite jealousy in Hasnat. Her efforts go largely unreturned by Hasnat, but the most interesting aspect of this part of the story is not the relentless maneuvers Diana tries to make Hasnat jealous, it is the use of paparazzi tips she phones in to get the press frenzied and photographing her whereabouts. Her tactics worked, if only to get her affair with a man on the front pages of the World news, but orchestrated what may have been the very thing that led to her demise. We all know how the film ends, tragically with her death, just as Diana’s life ended. It is those moments prior to her death that the film makes the audience ask the question, did Diana create a monster in the press by tipping off her whereabouts to the paparazzi? Was Diana a victim of gossip magazine’s frenzied need to publish the steamy details of celebrity’s lives?  Are any celebrities really victims of the paparazzi?

I did really appreciate that this film was devoid of the sex scenes and most importantly, the film did not dramatize the car crash in Paris where Diana died. It didn’t need to. We already know how that car pursuit ended. I did really appreciate the depiction of the moment the news reported her death from the point of view of Hasnat, which not unlike other tragedies that have happened historically, seem to spread with the prolific events of a phone call. One by one, the lights in homes flicker on, as the phones ring across London to alert that the Princess of Wales has died.

In short, if you were a fan of Princess Diana, you will love this film and it’s story of two star crossed lovers. If you are looking for a good movie to see that will be a blockbuster, save this hour and a half for Netflix.




-Black Mariah


By Bryan Kluger

Former husky model, real-life Comic Book Guy, genre-bending screenwriter, nude filmmaker, hairy podcaster, pro-wrestling idiot-savant, who has a penchant for solving Rubik's Cubes and rolling candy cigarettes on unreleased bootlegs of Frank Zappa records.

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