Guy Jackson, The Daily Telegraph, reports
Critics have savaged Diana, a biopic of the late Princess of Wales, just hours after its world premiere.
Australian actress Naomi Watts, who plays Diana, has already defended her involvement in the controversial film, which follows the princess's romance with London-based Pakistani surgeon Hasnat Khan.
Within hours of the premiere, a string of merciless reviews in the British press shattered the party spirit.
The Times praised Watts for doing "her level best with a squirmingly embarrassing script'' but concluded that the film was still "atrocious and intrusive''.
"Poor Princess Diana,'' wrote Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw.
"I hesitate to use the term 'car crash cinema'. But the awful truth is that, 16 years after that terrible day in 1997, she has died another awful death.''
The Daily Telegraph gave the film two stars - one more than both The Guardian and The Times - but was also withering in its assessment.
"What's the point of Diana?'' reviewer David Gritten asked rhetorically.
Based on Kate Snell's 2001 book Diana: Her Last Love, the film suggests that Diana started dating Dodi Fayed, whom many friends of the princess say was her real love, to make Khan jealous.
That is a claim challenged by many close to the princess.
Diana and Fayed died when the Mercedes in which they were travelling slammed into a pillar in a Paris road tunnel in 1997 while being pursued by press photographers.
Diana and Prince Charles divorced in 1996 after 15 turbulent years of marriage which produced two sons, Princes William and Harry.
Watts, dressed in a figure-hugging white gown, was joined on the red carpet at London's Leicester Square by British-Indian actor Naveen Andrews, who plays her on-screen lover.
Asked if she felt the film would offend Diana's sons, she told BBC TV: "Hopefully if they get to see the film, they will feel that we have done it in a respectful and sensitive way.
"We try to honour the depiction of her character in the best possible way.''