Chicks Netflix Christmas Pick • A Review of The Crown
Tis the season to get regal!
With the furore surrounding the news of Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s nuptials next year, just good to not be talking about Br…- nope! Or perhaps just the possibility of an extra bank holiday – whoop! And in honour of our very own London Chick, founder Karen Bryson, having been bestowed an MBE in services to drama this, oh yeah! December’s Netflix picks will be all things regal!
And so to Buckingham Palace……The Crown. Be warned, there may be puns – there will be puns.
Created by Peter Morgan (The Queen) based ‘The Crown’ on in his play ‘The Audience’, in which Helen Mirren starred, this carefully crafted show begins with Queen Elizabeth II, played exquisitely by Claire Foy (Wolf Hall) being newly crowned, following the death of her beloved father King George VI. Newly married to Prince Philip, played supremely by Matt Smith (Doctor Who) she has to navigate her new found powers…..which seem to equate to her not really having many at all but to perform her duty, and we see her learn what that means. We watch her face down Churchill, and see her have to break a promise to her sister, Princess Margaret, played by Vanessa Kirby (Everest) who gives a sovereign performance.
Series two steps the show up a gear. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are having, shall we say, difficulties in the marriage. Philip’s philandering ways have reached Her Royal Highness and she interrupts his promotional tour to confront him, honestly and openly, to see if they can’t come to some arrangement, for Philip to behave himself, as even she admits, they don’t have the freedom to divorce, “it’s not an option for us, ever.”
The story then takes us back five months earlier, when Philip was preparing for his tour. Elizabeth much more in her stride, she describes her gown and sash as “full battle dress” and Philip remarks “stuff used to wear you, now you wear it.” Foy plays this part to the letter, giving a superb performance. We really do empathise with all she has to withstand personally and publicly, a woman with the loudest voice in every room but who has to toe a historical line of duty, unafraid to challenge but ultimately silenced. The most powerful person in the country, we watch slowly her fade into herself, whilst pleasing those around her, with the exception of her husband and sister. And so to Margaret, this season sees her trying to find love, despairingly, with a stiff drink in one hand, and cigarette in the other. Kirby is sublime as the Princess, and has one rather exquisite scene where she has a breakdown, with Ella Fitzgerald’s, ‘Angel Eyes’ playing in the background, yes, this series, has some wonderfully beautiful music to accompany the stunning wardrobe. Even the Prime Minister (Harold MacMillian) played stunningly by Anton Lesser (Game of Thrones), is without scandal, he finds himself compromised by his wife, who is engaged in a not so secret affair. It must be said that Matt Smith also shines this season, ever more brightly than the last, and we gain much more of an insight to Philip’s background and childhood trauma, which start to play out in his relationship with Charles.
From the Suez crisis to the Profumo Affair, the Queen has to ride every crisis on UK soil, overseas and in her home. This series reflects change, status is challenged, with the mood of the nation beginning to turn its back on hierarchy, and with the Queen at the helm, she may well be forced to make some changes.
There are some stand out performances from Chloe Pirrie (War & Peace) as the long suffering wife Eileen Parker and Matthew Goode (The Imitation Game) as wild card photographer, Tony Armstrong-Jones and would be suitor to Margaret, the pair causing quite a royal stir.
It really does feel as though every cast member comes into their own during this series, the script is razor sharp, with some brutally honest quips on ones own character and the dialogue is beautifully textured throughout. This show deserves all the praise, complex and layered, it allows us the viewers to view our heads of state, with all their power and responsibilities, as people, with hopes and dreams.
Take a look at the trailer