• Mon. May 23rd, 2022

New Princess Diana film slammed after premiere for its achingly familiar story

Jan 21, 2022

Critics are dubbing the latest documentary about Princess Diana “achingly familiar” as director Ed Perkins debuts The Princess at the Sundance Film Festival this week.

The latest film presents an “immersive and experimental” take on the tragic demise of the Princess of Wales, using archival beginning with her 1981 engagement to Prince Charles to her death 16 years later.

With a Broadway musical, Netflix drama The Crown and a glitzy indie film about Princess Diana all released in recent months, the latest documentary received mixed reviews as it joins the growing number of TV shows claiming to offer a fresh perspective on Diana’s life.

One critic, Kevin Maher from The Times. noted the footage used will be extremely familiar to any British viewers – or anyone who has even a passing interest in the Royal Family.

He writes that after a gripping opening that shows Diana being spotted and chased by Australian tourists in Paris, the film returns to the same well-trodden path as other Diana releases.

“We jump back to 1980, and to the famous so-called ‘engagement rumours’ footage of Diana being chased into her mini metro by over-excited journalists,” Maher writes.

“And then off she goes, and off we go, year by year, beat by beat, through that same achingly familiar Diana story via a clip selection that you will not have seen many many times before if you’re either very young (and I mean pre-teen young) or are only recently arrived on planet earth,” he added.

But many American publications praised the new documentary, which comes after Harry and Meghan’s exit from the Royal Family sent shockwaves through the monarchy and thwarted their every move back into the spotlight.

Variety was among the publications that praised the doc, saying it is a “perfectly timed, compulsively watchable documentary,” while The Daily Beast offered a lukewarm review, citing: “You don’t leave The Princess with a brand new viewpoint, per se.

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Diana comes off well, while the palace and the media are villainized, as is the common and accepted modern take on what happened during that time.”

Producer Simon Chinn explained: “Our instinct was to go back in a sense of what we've always thought of as the ‘origin story’, and see what we could learn about what has happened subsequently through the story of Diana.”

The film comes weeks after the release of Spencer, which stars Kristen Stewart as the people's princess, and as The Crown series 5 continues to film, with Elizabeth Debicki in the role of Diana.

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