Powerful women. Potent '80s shoulder pads. Pompous family drama. Season four of the Netflix original series “The Crown” is everything one could want and more.
For those who have never watched the show, "The Crown" follows the lives of the royal family members from the perspective of Queen Elizabeth II (played by Olivia Colman). Starting from when Elizabeth becomes Queen of Britain and the Commonwealth, the series delves into the intricacies of being a member of the royal family and provides a glimpse into how the family must adjust to the perceptions and demands of the public.
Season four focuses mainly on the dynamic English royal family, the Windsors, along with the strong-headed former prime minister of the U.K., Margaret Thatcher, played by Gillian Anderson, and the compassionate Diana, played by Emma Corrin, who eventually becomes the iconic Princess of Wales.
It also examines the eccentricity of the relationships in the royal family –– specifically between Prince Charles, played by Josh O'Connor, and Diana –– and depicts the strained political dynamics between Queen Elizabeth II and Thatcher.
The award-winning drama does a brilliant job at depicting the odd life of the royal family and the former prime minister. Unlike in Meryl Steep's Academy Award-winning performance in the “Iron Lady,” Thatcher is depicted less as a self-involved woman and more as a mother to her family and a nation. Similarly, Queen Elizabeth II finally shows a profound interest in her children after many of the family's marriages fall apart.
Before detailing how amazing and most likely award-winning this season is, in no way is “The Crown” factual or depicts the true history of the royal family. It’s “based on real-life events,” meaning it’s simply that — “based on.” The dialogue is not exactly representative of any real-life conversations, and not every scene reflects reality.
“In ‘The Crown,’ we always try to remind everyone (of) what we are. The series that we’re in is fictionalized to a great extent – obviously, it has its roots in reality and in some fact,” said Corrin in an interview with Tamron Hall.
This popular fictional show of a current living family has misguided some viewers into think that “The Crown” is equivalent to the real life of the royal family – to the point where the U.K.’s Culture Secretary asked Netflix to give a fictional warning to viewers. As an avid follower of the royal family: “The Crown” is not completely real!
Some parts of the show are partially true, like when Princess Diana danced at the Royal Opera House for her husband on his birthday. While other scenes are completely fiction for no other reason than to better the story and make it more dramatic, as done with many other Hollywood films and TV that depict real life. Even so, “The Crown” is still able to retain that cinematic sparkle of royal life even when it’s fiction.
Corrin's depiction of Diana is absolutely stunning, from the way she tilts her head to how she says "alright," Corrin is able to transform from the naive 19-year-old Diana to the mature 20-year-old Princess with ease. Playing a public figure that is still in every day conversations because of her former status, is amazing. Princess Diana only died 25 years ago, and her sons Prince William and Prince Harry are constantly under public scrutiny.
The portrayal of the Princess of Wales' mental health, depression and bulimia, is extraordinary and completely moving. Through the show, Diana looks more human than ever with these struggles and Corrin’s ability to stick to the essence of the Princess becomes even more vivid with the honest representation of her eating disorder and mental health.
Simultaneously, Anderson’s performance shines in her role of Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher’s life is shown in different perspectives, like from the perspectives of the press, as a prominent political figure and as a mother.
Anderson takes a disliked (or often hated) woman in politics in the 1980s and transforms her into another human being who can both cry in front of the Queen while also being overconfident in parliament.
The representations of the royal family such as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles are also sincere. Audiences see the impact of the duty to the crown from Charles’ battle to maintain an affair with his true love, Camilla Parker-Bowles, to the Queen’s struggle to help keep her children’s hectic lives private.
Something else to note, is that the fashion in this particular season is phenomenal. Big shoulders, bold colors and extreme patterns run parallel to the brilliant storytelling and acting.
As said by Jessica Hobbes, one of the directors of the series, “My favorite department is the costume department,” and it’s clear why.
Overall, the fourth season of “The Crown” is a must-watch and would be ridiculous to ignore for any reason. It’s a guarantee that award buzz is bound to encircle this show as with its previous seasons.