The Crown season 4 premiered on Netflix this week to both rave reviews and its fair share of controversy in regard to its dubious interpretations of history. Yet inaccuracies aside, this is nothing short of a delicious romp through the political, social and royal turmoil of 1980s Britain, delivered with a camp sense of pomp and ceremony.
Directed by Benjamin Caron, this season packs in more scandal than both the Bold And The Beautiful and Days Of Our Lives combined. While some have claimed these characters come across as little more than unlikable it is the way that such conflict is played out between them, with equal parts dramatic tension and humour that makes The Crown season 4 such a roaring good time.
The season opens with what is at the time a cordial interaction between Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson) and Queen Elizabeth II (played by the ever-luminary Elizabeth Colman) a relationship that becomes less polite as the season continues.
Anderson is pure gold as Thatcher, showing a strict control over her interpretation of the UK’s most divisive leader of modern times. There is a Trump-esque air to the way Thatcher is portrayed here, a pig headedness stateliness that speaks all too well to current times.
The character of Princess Dianna (played by Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki) is used as a trope to signify the coming of a ‘new age’ for the royal family. In some beautifully shot sequences, the regal sounds of orchestra are drowned out by the music the young princess is listening to on her cassette Walkman, all while rollerblading through the hallowed halls of Buckingham Palace.
Diana’s character has also the most depth and is the most unflinching portrayal. Of all characters it is Dianna that you feel most for, as she is caught up in a storm no one could have prepared her for.
And while the cast is superb (though with names like Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret attaching anything less than superb, just wouldn’t do) it feels like not enough attention was payed to the more minor characters. In later episodes in particular, the writing losses much of the rhythm that was built in earlier episodes.
Visually, the season is beautifully composed, of particular merit are earlier scenes of a wounded stag being hunted down in the highlands, woven beautifully into the broader narrative as a metaphor for Prince Charles’ pursuit of the young Lady Dianna.
However visually appealing the show is, it is the score used in this latest season that really does most of the heavy lifting. It seemingly lifts the story and history of the Royal Family from the past and places them with a firm hand, to within the contemporary
Throughout the eight episodes there are more than a few moments of the most brilliantly executed one liners and the cast seem to enjoy each and every one of them. What The Crown season 4 does so well, is that it doesn’t let the truth get in the way of a good story, but remains just accurate enough and as with all three previous seasons this one comes highly recommended.
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