Film & TV

Review: The Crown Season 4 (Netflix)

(Left to Right) Emma Corrin, Olivia Colman and Gillian Anderson in The Crown Season 4 | Image credits to RadioTimes

By Georgia Glenn

★★★★½

The long awaited season 4 of The Crown has finally hit our screens, and my gosh was it a rollercoaster. We start in 1977 and end on Christmas Day, 1990. The problem with a historical show such as The Crown means that we know everything about every event because it is living history; bearing in mind, the timeline for this season was only 47 years ago, so our parents (and definitely grandparents) witnessed these historic events first-hand. But what they don’t know is what went on behind the scenes; and this is exactly what The Crown covers.

Without putting too much negativity onto the show, I must say that the artistic licence has been heavily used. I don’t know much about the events that happened between 1977 and 1990, I had only heard of them. But, judging on what we know of the real-life person depicted within the show, I find it a little hard to believe that Margaret Thatcher went to war with the Falklands due to her emotional vulnerability over Mark Thatcher’s disappearance or that the Queen had a 10-minute conversation with her intruder, Michael Fagan. Now, we’ll never know what truly happened in the iconic events depicted, but some just seem a little too off pisté.  

Coming back to the positives that the show created, one stellar performance I must point out is that of Emma Corrin. Before the show even aired, Corrin had important (and gorgeous) shoes to fill – those of Lady Diana Spencer. A sensational woman, whose life was filled with love and success but also heartbreak and destruction. For Corrin, it does help that she is reminiscent of Diana, but I was actually astounded by how much she acted and spoke like her, from her signature head tilt to her soft and calming voice. As a fan of both the Royal Family and The Crown, it was interesting yet deeply saddening to watch Diana on her journey from a ‘normal’ 16-year-old to the Princess of Wales, the world as her stage. This season of The Crown surprisingly gave Diana a voice, especially when Prince Charles (played by Josh O’Connor) continued to attack her and push her into his mould. To see Corrin shed a single tear as the final episode drew to a close showed me just how broken Diana was, to be pushed to the side of the family with no obvious way out.

Olivia Colman continues to shine as Queen Elizabeth II, giving Her Majesty a voice where one was not supposed to, especially with Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson). By having two such incredibly independent women, from two very different backgrounds, creator Peter Morgan now invokes the theme of feminism in a heavily patriarchal world. Prince Phillip (Tobias Menzies) in episode 1 says “That’s the last thing this country needs. Two women running the shop”, to which Colman replies “perhaps it’s precisely what this country needs.” This sets the scene right from the off; it cements the idea that women can take control and the world won’t collapse.

Emerald Fennell (Camilla Parker-Bowles) and Erin Doherty (Princess Anne) both surprised me in the way that they delved into their person’s psyche and showed us raw emotions that one might never think they would see. I was surprised to see how much of a fight Camilla was putting up so that Charles’ marriage wouldn’t end. Perhaps because she wasn’t as popular or loved or maybe because she truly wanted her own marriage to survive. But it was pleasant to see a mistress who wasn’t hell-bent on destroying her lover’s marriage. Princess Anne, on the other hand, showed us how much love a sister truly has; and that whilst she may be outspoken, she needs reassurance too from time to time. Doherty provided us with a true and honest version of a woman who is insecure and scared but is too proud to show it, albeit sometimes it is her downfall. 

The Crown is a must-see show, filled with fire and love and sadness and truth.

It provides us with a glimpse into history, a family which none of us will experience in real-life. But it allows us one step closer into this ‘fairy tale’.

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