Netflix, in it’s great wisdom, suggested Binge Watching some shows over the Thanksgiving weekend. I saw posters in both California and here in Paris for The Crown. Since I don’t like football and couldn’t find anything else better on Netflix, I decided to watch it. And I ended up binge watching it just as suggested!!!
I have no memory of Queen Elizabeth II being anything other that what she is today, an elderly women, who waves funny and rarely speaks. The series starts in 1947 when she is a young girl, her father is still King, she is in love and about to marry Phillip and she and her sister Margaret are good friends. Claire Foy plays Elizabeth. The last I saw of Ms. Foy, she was getting her head chopped off as a result of being Anne Boleyn in Wolf Hall. From cunning, manipulative Ms Boleyn to the intelligent, correct Ms Windsor in one season is quite a feat!!
When Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, dies five years later, she becomes Queen at twenty-five years of age. What struck me more than anything as Elizabeth learns The Rules of Monarchy, is what a lonely, lonely position it is. She can’t pick her own last name, where she lives or who will be her secretary.
The great John Lithgow plays Winston Churchill. I’ve seen many actors play Churchill. Lithgow’s Churchill is terrific. He is curmudgeonly, manipulative, brilliant and old. Too old to still be Prime Minister. He and Elizabeth lean on each other, she to learn about her job and he to stay needed so that he can keep his.
There are many wonderful performances in the Crown but I’ve vowed to keep my blogs short. I will say that after Colin Firth won the Oscar for playing King George in The King’s Speech, it had to take a brilliant actor to make me forget Mr. Firth. Jared Harris is that brilliant actor. He plays the King with a compassion and wisdom that one hopes leaders of all nations might have. There are lovely scenes of him teaching his eldest daughter about the Constitution and about the relationship between the Monarchy and Parliament.
I think it is a terrific series. I heard or read that the creators are hoping to have 60 episodes, at least 6 years, of The Crown. If it stays this good, I’ll be watching it all six years.