“The production value of The Crown season 4 is of the highest caliber which makes it a visual delight”
The Crown season 4 is a triumph. The much-anticipated season has released on Netflix to rave reviews and I am here to offer my own. The season starts in 1977 and ends in 1990, the majority of the season is dominated by the relationship of Charles and Diana, their lives behind closed doors, the turbulent and the good and the resolve on the Queens and Philips part that their marriage had to last. Other storylines such as the rise and fall of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Princess Margaret’s deteriorating health, and the Queen’s relationship with her children also feature.
The Crown Season 4 | Netflix
The fourth season of The Crown is an incredibly strong one, and that strength derives from its introduction of two new leading ladies Princess Diana (Emma Corrin) and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson). Sadly, we will not see Emma Corrin and Gillian Anderson again as the cast is due to change once again for season 5. But that does not make their performances any less notable. This season is one hell of a ride but one must remember that the show is known to take artist license, so everything shown is not historically accurate.
There are many amazing scenes involving Margaret Thatcher, from her first meeting with the Queen to her breakdown when she has been pushed out of government. But in one prominent scene, Margaret Thatcher visits the royal family at Balmoral. On the journey there Margaret’s husband Denis Thatcher (Stephen Boxer) discusses the rumor that the royal family test people whilst they visit Balmoral, this soon becomes obvious as the Thatcher’s are thrown out of their comfort zone.
The scenes of Margaret Thatcher being treated cruelly by the royal family because she failed to bring walking clothes and shoes, found little joy in parlor games, and failed to understand the vague schedule of the weekend evoke sympathy for the Prime Minister. But it is not confirmed that the royal family tests guests until Diana arrives. Whilst the validity of these events is debatable the clear purpose of these scenes was to throw light on the out-of-touch privilege the royal family possesses. It shows the family as cruel, insensitive, and outdated.
The Queen is somewhat overshadowed by others this season, but she is the constant we have come to expect. The clear main storyline of the season is the relationship between Diana, Charles, and Camilla. Again, with everything in The Crown we have to watch it with the knowledge that artistic license has been taken. But the way Charles and Camilla are presented is not positive, they continued their affair without a thought to who they would harm, and when things did not go in their favor there was only one victim: Diana. The audience sees the effects Charlie and Camilla have on Diana. The moments where we see the shocking portrayal of Diana’s Bulimia are heart-breaking and shed light on her mental state in a way no other show/film has been able to. During the Wales’ tour of Australia, you cannot help but route for Diana and Charles to make it work but Charles destroys any relationship time and time again.
Towards the end of the season, we see the success of Diana’s solo tour of America, the result of the tour leaves Camilla telling Charles that she won’t leave her husband because she could not take the hate of the public. Charles tells Diana that she had no right to hurt Camilla in a scene that is so perfectly acted and shot it creates a great amount of rage – all of which is aimed at Charles. We see Diana as the caring, compassionate, vulnerable mother who tried to make her marriage work where Charles is an uncompassionate, selfish individual that shows no affection to anyone except Camilla. As someone who knew of the events of this relationship but was not alive to see them unfolding at the moment, I felt such negative thoughts towards Charles and Camilla throughout. This season has had an impact on my perception and I’ll be surprised if it does not affect others in the same way.
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Besides the main storylines, each episode introduces us to a border picture of England during the 1980s. Episodes never picking up where you think they will, which always keeps you on the edge of the seat unable to pause. Events that many younger viewers will have no real knowledge of such as the break-ins at Buckingham Palace and the Falkland’s war are given whole episodes. Each historical event intrigued me, and I found myself researching the true timelines to see what really happened, although at times the show depicts events with perfect accuracy. But the event that shocked me the most was Princess Margaret’s discovery. When she unearthed that her cousins were announced dead but were hidden in a mental hospital because they could have damaged the reputation of the royal family is shocking. Helena’s performance is stunning at hits the shocking and disgusting discovery home.
But storylines are not the only strength of The Crown. The cast not only looks and sounds like their real-life counterparts but they also have the mannerisms down, at times I had to pull myself out of the illusion because it is easy to become involved in the show which is a dramatization and not a documentary. The score perfectly frames moments, it brings us deeper into Diana’s mental state, highlighting her unhappiness, it highlights Margaret’s mental state, and her memories of the past. The show uses everything from cinematography to sound to create powerful scenes such as Diana walking in her wedding dress and Margaret floating in the pool. The use of 1980s music also helps bring the audience into the period, everything you see and hear is from the 1980s. The costumes are so incredible and accurate, the production value of this show is of the highest caliber which makes it a visual delight.
Overall, this is another great season of The Crown, that evokes a clear if dramatized version of history. I greatly enjoyed this season; it has an addictive property that fully envelopes you in the past. However, the royal family looks anything but great at the end of this season, and as we know from the previous seasons this can alter public opinions. So where does The Crown go next? Season 5 is in pre-production with some cast members having been announced.
The Crown is streaming exclusively on Netflix.
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Darcie Gray is a regular contributor to The Future of the Force. Aside from being a passionate Star Wars fan, she loves every genre of movies and she channels her passion for film into her blog Just Another Film Blog. Follow her on Twitter @Darcie_Letitia where she shares her love of film regularly.