19 January 2017

Written by Marc Lamberts
for Daily Focal

Just a short statement before I start, I was so excited to write about The Crown. So, if I am biased and overenthusiastic, that’s the reason.

As an Arts & Culture student and having done History degrees, I’m quite sceptic of costume dramas. For one particular reason: the historical accuracy.  I’ve often seen series or films where I was thinking, this is just not how it went back in the day. While different historians debate about some events or dialogues in the series The Crown, it’s one of the most accurate historical series I’ve had the pleasure of seeing.

The acting is brilliant. The thing I personally like about The Crown is that it’s focused on the quality of dialogues. There is little distraction from the scenes, so it the speaking part has to be good. I’m not going to highlight every single actor in the show, but some do deserve some attention in my opinion. Claire Foy is ridiculously talented and does Queen Elizabeth II justice in this series.  I saw her in Wolf Hall as Anne Boleyn, incredibly gifted actress. At least for this genre.
Before I started watching the Crown, I wasn’t to sure what to expect from Matt Smith who is Prince Philip in The Crown. I was entirely biased of course, as we all are when we previously seen a film or series with a particular actor. For me was Doctor Who and it was so weird to see him portraying Prince Philip. That changed after the first 10 minutes of episode one, he surprised me with his acting and it’s the chemistry between him and Foy that made The Crown more outstanding than I anticipated.

I loved Victoria Hamilton as the Queen Mom and Jared Harris as King George VI. They were great in the series, especially the role of Hamilton was portrayed so well. It’s not easy to play the coldness, yet emotional vulnerable mother of the Queen. The role of Winston Churchill worried me a bit, because John Lithgow is American. I don’t know, but I didn’t like the idea of an American playing Churchill, but he surprised me. He did it very good.

It was an outstanding performance from everyone and what I thought was rather special, was the following. The individual qualities of the actors is fantastic, but the collective was what made this show – and the next season(s) I hope – so great to watch.

This series has not only been about great acting, but also about creating understanding and educating us about society, the British one in particular. We have this idea of the monarchy and in particular the people who are royal. Our collective memory is different than the reality and The Crown attempts to not only change our perception, but also let’s us think about life. I think that’s really brilliant.

We have also had this idea about the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s. It’s very biased and clouded by our contemporary judgement, but this series tries to be more open about a certain way of live. Both negative and positive, that’s the feeling I got at least. The royal family is first and foremost a family. Families do have internal struggles, so does the royal family and the show learns us that it’s incredibly difficult to have to make a decision between what’s good for your country and what’s good for family and in extent, love. It tells us the struggle of a family, the difficulty of life and the changes everyone had to endure over the years. 

I loved the actors, the acting, the almost accurate historical events and the way they portray the monarchy. It started as an over the top, very posh and expensive Downton Abbey, but the series ended as some kind of Sopranos in Buckingham Palace. Bring on season 2! 

Marc's TV Review Ranking:

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