by Paloma Giustizieri
Diana: In Her Own Words
Directed by Tom Jennings
Diana: In Her Own Words is a documentary following Princess Diana’s life. The compelling element to this film is that the entire story is narrated by Diana herself. The narration comes from a series of interviews conducted by her close friend Andrew Morton.
Morton published a book on Diana’s life in the last few years of her life – it exposed the realities of what it was like to be a part of the royal family. The interviews of the tapes were the foundation of the narration for this documentary.
We peer into her childhood. She explains it as being incredibly unhappy – she always felt very detached from everyone around her. Her honesty in the interviews is incredibly gripping.
Everything used in the documentary is archive footage – the composition of the film uses family photos, home videos, footage from the paparazzi and the interviews from Andrew Morton. A large amount of footage is taken from her encounters with the paparazzi. She commented, “And then it started to build up. The press were being unbearable, following my every move.”
Diana explains the traumas she endured: from her bulimia to the lack of support from the royal family to the scandalous affair her husband, Prince Charles, had with Camilla.
“I felt I was a lamb to the slaughter”
The entire documentary is heart-wrenching. Diana is surprisingly raw about how miserable she truly was. There were parts of the documentary that filled my eyes with tears.
29 July 1981 Diana Spencer became Diana, Princess of Wales. The editing of her wedding scene is particularly interesting. The footage goes from colourful video and shifts quickly to a black and white snapshot photograph. It is accompanied by the sound of a camera click. My interpretation of this choice of editing is to freeze the moment in time. The photographs tell a different story to what Diana narrates. The images and photos that are published and taken of her on the day show a happy bride – someone who is calm and excited to be getting married. However, as the audience listening to Diana narrate her experience, we know different.
Although the story of Diana’s life is tough, there was some kind of a silver lining at one point in the documentary. We see Diana truly come into her own. She begins to see her worth, work on her own and impact those around her. The Princess was loved by many.
The tragic life and death of the Princess conclude the documentary with a heart-breaking quote from Diana. “I had so many dreams as a young girl.” This tore at my heartstrings.
The documentary has a somber tone to it as we know while watching, that Diana indeed passed away in 1997. We know that she did not fulfill her dreams as a young girl or as an adult and this brings a large amount of empathy for her.
The documentary is breathtaking. I would recommend it to absolutely anyone regardless of their class, race, ethnicity, gender or age. It is a documentary that is eye-opening, melancholic and nostalgic. However, the love that the world had for Diana shines through. You feel the love for her through how people react to her both alive and in her death.