Review Ep 1-10.
Admittingly, this isn’t for the staunchest of Republicans, but the new Netflix series, The Crown, does have an alluring quality to it. Over the course of a week I sat myself down, expecting another tribute to dear old Queen Lizzie in a tone reserved only for the monarchists of pure heart. This, I thought, was aimed at the Crown loving audience who wished to partake in another nostalgic journey.
And boy, was I wrong.
The Crown has a lot to dish up. The series engaged in my inner historian as it accurately depicted events of the wardown to the stutter of King George himself. Winston Churchill’s battle with his own ego– and political party –threaded its way throughout all ten episodes,crafting the fine detail that left me wanting for more.
The brilliant performances by a cleverly picked cast complimented the research and writing that went into the scripting, and the wardrobe department was equally successful. Claire Foy’s part as Queen Elizabeth is admirable and resounding, right down to the way she cut through someone with her gaze as she politely disagreed with them. The world was believable without being over the top; enough that it sparked a small riot in my household between Republican and Monarchist alike.
The main plot is simple enough: Queen Elizabeth’s rise to the throne, perhaps unwillingly, after her father’s death. King Phillip is the protagonist that we all love to hate and hate to love, and in the end, we kind of feel sorry for everything he has had to put up with. The Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret (played by Vanessa Kirby) shines light on the difficulty of living in one’s shadow, and the abdication of their uncle leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. At the end of each episode, you’re grateful for your own dysfunctional family because in comparison to the royal family portrayed in The Crown, they’re actually not so bad to live with.
But what truly enriches each episode, and the series as a whole, is the portrayal of Sir Winston Churchill, his role to the young Queen and his own
personal demons. Played by talented actor John Lithgow, there’s a lingering sadness in each scene portrayed. An emptiness. For if Churchill isn’t Britain’s Prime Minister, then who is he? It’s a continuing question that the towering man asks himself through his body language, his ego, and in his suffering, bleeding through the television and into our living rooms. It’s the haunting question we all ask ourselves: Who are we?
The ongoing psychological battles that hold each character on a chain, are the very reasons why this series is a winner. There’s nothing simple about State and Church, politics and its people. The dog eat dog world exists within Buckingham’s walls, and it’s with this that the audience is left wondering about what happens next, even though history has already spoken.
Review by Aral Bereux.