The Crown

Review: Netflix’s “The Crown” season 4

Season after season, the cast of “The Crown” have raised the bar. Season 4 is not different. The recurring cast from season 3 carried on with their phenomenal performances in “The Crown” season 4 with some worthy additions namely; Emma Corrin as Diana, Princess of Wales, and Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher, former British prime minister. But seeing Gillian Anderson literally portray Margaret Thatcher as Britain’s stiff-necked prime minister is the highlight of season. It is not an A+ for the voice – seemed a little slurred – but Anderson’s delivery of Thatcher’s mannerisms is commendable. From the feisty Agent Scully in the “X-files” to the chic Pegasus in “Johnny English Reborn,” to the sassy and free-spirited Jean Milburn in “Sex Education,” to Thatcher, Anderson has proven that she has range. Bravo!

As with previous seasons, the Queen’s relationship with her prime minister is a major feature. “The Crown” season 4 captures Thatcher’s eleven and half years as prime minister, the marriage of Lady Diana Spencer to Prince Charles and the continuous struggles of some members of the royal family such as Princess Margaret.

Perspective is an important thing. Many years ago, before Meghan Markle came into the picture, an acquaintance described Harry as suffering from the ‘next-in-line syndrome.’ It was not quite meaningful then but the portrayal of Princess Margaret’s struggles – albeit drama – gives one a good understanding of what it means to suffer from the ‘next-in-line’ syndrome. Helena Bonham Carter as usual did a brilliant job as Princess Margaret, and the conflicted younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II. Her pain is totally relatable. How does one swear allegiance to the Queen and shortly after is told that she’s no longer needed but can be content with being the patron to a charity and hosting her friends? It must be a sad life.

Princess Diana’s story has been told several times yet one looked forward to seeing “The Crown’s” perspective. It’s always said that Prince Charles was first acquainted with Sarah Spencer but the meeting of Lady Diana and Prince Charles has not be told like this before. How sad to mistake a common interest such as a love for theatre as compatibility? Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip is more preferable to Matt Smith. And the character also becoming a favourite. It is hard to tell if it is because of the maturity exhibited by the older Prince Philip or if it’s Menzies’ acting. Whatever the case, we like it.

The British English and humour are some the things that give “The Crown” its credence. Sadly, there is some cringe-worthy Americanization of the grammar. In episode 8, of “The Crown” season 4, the young Elizabeth’s (Claire Foy) speech to the Commonwealth reads, ‘more free, more prosperous, more happy…’

“The Crown” is streaming on Netflix.

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About the author

A lover of the arts who sees film and television through the eyes of the Nigerian viewer.