The Crown: An Important and Smart Season 5

As posted in CLAUDIA

Peter Morgan is certainly one of the greatest experts on the Royal Family today, having made the Oscar-winning film The Queen, in 2007, and since November 2016, shining with the award-winning The Crown. With a proposal to cover the trajectory of the longest-running Queen in British history, the showrunner has managed each season to rescue the remarkable facts of five decades of the seven that Elizabeth II was on the throne, however, with the proximity of the present day, it is increasingly targeted. Season 5, available on Netflix since the 9th, had a long hiatus forced by the Pandemic, being released shortly after the sovereign’s death and in a sensitive phase for Monarchy. All this contributes to even more severe anticipation and criticism of the series, but I warn those concerned: it’s nonsense, but it’s still excellent.

With all the Windsor family crisis over the last couple of years, the drama that begins to be portrayed in The Crown may seem small, but it’s the seed of what we’re following today, hence so much trouble. If in the initial seasons there were few who could say “I remember that”, since the 3rd there is a generation (the X) that has lived with much of what the series shows and, in the most appropriate words of the Queen, “recollections may vary”. On binary social networks, supporters of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry dispute the notion that supporters of the Royal Family scream: the series is not a documentary, but make no mistake, even fictionalizing the truth, it is very close to what is considered real fact. Peter Morgan has a wealth of material from books, interviews, and photos to draw on and what he’s been showing is within what can be argued to be faithful. This narrative is one of the charms of the franchise.

It’s hard to talk about the season and a biographical series and avoid spoilers, but here’s the deal: the facts are known and easy to find with google, so I’ll avoid mentioning the artistic liberties taken to retell them. We had left the series with Princess Diana disillusioned with the farce of her marriage and found her more mature, but still isolated and suffering, with Elizabeth II dealing with the ends of the marriages of two other children (Anne and Andrew), as well as a crisis on her own. The series strays less into the political and economic issues of the 1990s, focusing on family relationships. Which is, paradoxically, more dangerous.

The Crown‘s historical reenactment remains flawless (and the root of the “not documentary” confusion), with an Elizabeth Debicki eerily “equal” to Diana. The revived facts are well selected and meaningful, but just like in reality, we want the Princess more and less the Queen, and we miss it when Diana isn’t in the picture.

Season 5 marked a new cast change and generated anxiety for fans, but unfortunately, was justified. Part of the cast is impersonating and part is acting. While Olivia Williams and Elizabeth Debicki “are” Camilla Parker-Bowles and Diana, Dominic West, Imelda Stauton, and Jonathan Pryce “represent” Charles, Elizabeth II, and Philip, which engages us less than they do. For Dominic, filling in for award-winning Josh O’Connor was harder, we knew. The young actor had brought a vulnerability that pro-Diana audiences hadn’t expected, and even as he turned into a frustrated and cruel man with his wife, he had a certain sympathy. Dominic, who dangerously chose to steer clear of any imitation of the real Charles, is a bit out of character. For Imelda, it is equally difficult because this season the Queen is criticized more than ever for her cold and distant attitude as sovereign and mother. Even if she suffers in silence, her passivity makes her distant even from the public. Of course, this is intentional in the series, but the actress has not yet had the dimension that Claire Foy or Olivia Colman brought to the role.

Peter Morgan presents us with a Charles struggling to anticipate his coronation, firm, critical, and different from his estranged family. For an audience that knows the period of history was the worst for him, it’s a surprise how he’s portrayed. In other words, it’s a sympathetic version as far as possible for the current King. Considering the series was written and shot before the Queen’s death, it can’t be said that the showrunner made the choice because the positions changed.

If you’ve read that the episodes about Mohamed Al-Fayed and the behind-the-scenes of Diana’s infamous BBC interview are the highlights of the season, trust me, it’s accurate. They are emotional and tense, more so than the Windsor drama itself. The conclusion is in the air, but that’s because the 6th season is already being recorded. I know fans want to turn The Crown into a documentary, but today it is the best “reality fiction” on the platforms. It remains unique in its position.


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