Peter Morgan’s fourth installment of the British Monarchy drama The Crown has everything a viewer wants: powerful performances, a realistic depiction of the most controversial events in the Royal family and the glam of the 80s. Truth be told, I have kept tabs on the Royal family ever since I learned about Princess Diana. I am sure I am not the only one in this league though.
Although, The Crown largely runs around Olivia Colman who plays Queen Elizabeth II, I could not help but keep my eyes, ears and emotions on Gillian Anderson who plays The Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, the then British Prime Minister. I had thought Emma Corin would be the eye-candy in the show but, as much as she tried playing the doe-eyed Lady D, she could not live up to portraying the charm and elegance.
What I loved about Anderson is the uncanniness that she has to Thatcher’s character. Ironically, it is the same reason I do not approve of Corin as Lady D. There is no doubt that there could be no other like the Princess of Wales but one still hopes that the actor who takes up such a task would at least try to present the same persona on-screen. I have grown up copying Diana’s waving style. A piece of my heart broke when I did not feel the same way when Corin waved at the crowd in one of the episodes.
Somewhere in Season 3, the show started to feel out of place and I started losing interest due to predictable performances. However, in this season, The Crown has got a sense of verve with the characters punching it up through their phenomenal acting skills in the scenes that landed the Royal family in tabloids and has given them some unwanted attention. Actors whose onscreen delivery needs a special mention are Anderson and Josh O’Connor, playing the Prince of Wales. The former’s power pact performance gives Season 4 that oomph factor and makes her the star of the show while the latter has shown remarkable growth with portraying Prince Charles and living up to the spoilt Prince image.
One thing that always catches the audience’s attention and gets such historical drama shows in trouble is the presentation of true events that are already there in books, magazines and newspapers. While watching The Crown, the fourth season has dared to bring up the premiership of London’s first woman Prime Minister, the Falklands War, the Royal wedding and the birth of two royal princes, William and Harry.
However, what makes this season really stand out are scenes between the Queen and Thatcher. It is intriguing to watch two strong women coming together. As a viewer, I could feel the heat in the room between the two ladies, despite being present on the other side of the screen. One knows what she wants, the other makes sure she does not get it.
When it comes to the part of giving Princess D the limelight, one cannot help but keep their eyes on the gorgeous locations and the grand settings of the 80s. As a viewer, I am guilty of taking my eyes off the Princess and praising the grand halls of Buckingham Palace.
Despite a massive response from the audience, The Crown Season 4 is by the far the most controversial since the trailer came out. According to reports, the Royal family is not too happy with the representation of their personal matters in the show. Portraying someone’s life on television, especially when it involves Royalty is not an easy task. Morgan does try to be as neutral as he can be with his direction by using the already present information.
One scene that really stood out for me and I cannot help but praise here is the one where Camilla Shand, played by Emerald Fennell, invites Diana for lunch at a restaurant. The way Camilla puts down Princess D and how Corrin manages to portray her suffering during the scene is remarkable. It takes a lot of courage to even face the other woman in your man’s life, let alone have lunch with her with such poise. Corrin had me there.
I would also take the opportunity to appreciate Morgan for the close to reality representation of Diana’s struggle with bulimia while dealing with a broken marriage and raising two sons.
The end of this season will leave you with questions – many, lots of them. No matter what, I have said it before and will unashamedly say it again, this is the BEST one so far! Good, bad or average, you cannot help but, discuss each performance individually. Even if you are a die-hard Lady D fan, you won’t be able to figure out if the walls that she created around herself took her down or was she really a victim and helpless?
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