The British have upset film-maker Oliver Hirschbiegel, who has expressed his "devastation" over the mauling of his biopic of Princess Diana, starring Naomi Watts. It has not done too well commercially, either. In Diana's opening week, it finished fifth in the box offices; a week later, its audiences halved.
Hirschbiegel said the critical reaction was similar to what newspapers said about the real Diana when she was alive: "Really vile things. So I guess I succeeded."
The film-maker added: "In all other places where it's opened - in Poland, the Czech Republic, Turkey and Slovakia - it's been very strong. I think, for the British, Diana is still a trauma they haven't come to terms with."
Well deflected, Mr Hirschbiegel, but that doesn't make it true.
showed that Hirschbiegel is a gifted director. However, he is confused, to put it politely, over the British reaction to Diana the film and, indeed, Diana the memory. Likening the reception of the film to the press hounding of the person is bizarre enough. The film was slated because it stank, resembling a TV movie dreamed up by the late romantic novelist Dame Barbara Cartland in her cups.
As Stephen Frears' The Queen managed to portray British royalty and Diana's death honestly, there is simply no excuse for how over-sentimentalised, facile and tourist-friendly Diana is - akin to being smothered with a damp souvenir tea towel. For Hirschbiegel to further claim that the British public did not take to the film because they "haven't come to terms with the trauma of her death" is not only farcical, it borders on insulting.
Obviously, there was a huge reaction at the time of Diana's death. I found her death exactly as sad as if any young mother of two had died in a car accident, though no more tragic than that, for the simple reason that this was tragic enough.
As is well documented, others took it harder (some are still claiming that she was murdered, possibly during the fake moon landings or near a grassy knoll), but it's unlikely that many British people are "traumatised".
Generally, British people seem able to acknowledge their history without falling to pieces or hysterically refusing to enter cinemas to watch biopics.
Does Hirschbiegel truly believe that 16 years after Diana's death the British public is shuffling around, swathed in black, weeping and wailing about the "Queen of Hearts", that, as a nation, they defy popular culture to try to portray her and boycott any films that dare?
One can't help but wonder if Hirschbiegel has met many British people, if he is aware of the questioning, refusenik, sparky, ironic side of the British character? Does he realise that they are ... a bit lively? Or that, despite having a royal family, they are among the most irreverent people on Earth?
While Hirschbiegel may have felt assured of critical veneration and big box office in this country, anyone could have told him that Britain was always destined to be the toughest market to crack. Not despite the fact that Diana was British and royal, but because of this. Indeed, British people were always going to have the most hypercritical reaction to any Diana movie. A case of "we know this story, chum, so tell it properly".
This explains why Diana stiffed in Britain, as it didn't in Poland, the Czech Republic, Turkey, and Slovakia (congratulations on that).
Nothing to do with Britain as a nation still being too traumatised about Princess Diana's death - give British people some credit, they're not that feeble. In truth, British people are more than ready for an insightful, well-made film about Princess Diana, but this was not that insightful, well-made film.
Diana opens in cinemas on Thursday.