Olivia Colman makes for a regal queen in ‘The Crown’
Anglophiles and Windsor fans can rejoice now that Netflix has graced our queues with the latest season of “The Crown.”
When I first learned that Netflix was planning to swap out the cast for the third season of “The Crown” instead of using the wonders of Hollywood magic to age the original cast, I was reluctant to say farewell to Claire Foy and Vanessa Kirby’s head turning performances as Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret.
However, the spectacular starpower in the third season certainly eases the grieving process. Olivia Colman steps into the queen’s shoes with a terrifically understated sense of elegance. Yes, she is the queen, a role that while she has grown accustomed to it, viewers can see that Elizabeth still hasn’t grown fond of the power she wields. Colman’s performance, particularly in the third episode of the season (no spoilers), is so tremendously powerful critics are sure to remember her come awards season (after all, Oscar loved her turn in “The Favorite”). Helena Bonham Carter provides a spectacular performance which compliments Kirby’s previous iteration of Margaret. While the actress is known for her zanier characters, her performance pulls on the audience’s heartstrings as Bonham Carter plays into the princess’s unhappiness.
Tobias Menzies (Outlander) takes on Matt Smith’s mantle as the queen’s husband, Prince Phillip, with fire and grace. Audiences will note that while Phillip’s rambling nature has calmed slightly with age, it hasn’t dulled his sharp tongue.
In the latest installment of “The Crown” audiences might need a moment to acquaint themselves with the new faces on the set but will quickly fall in step with the political and personal moments that marked Queen Elizabeth’s reign in the mid-60s and 70s. As time has advanced in the series, Prince Charles (Josh O’ Connor) and Princess Anne (Erin Doherty) have been developed into notable characters and the season does explore the early stages of Charles’ relationship with Camilla Shand (yes, that Camilla). Sorry folks, the infamous Princess Diana has yet to appear in “The Crown” quite yet, but her role has been cast and promised for season four.
This new season pays witness to a series of new prime ministers, tragedy befalling the monarchy as well as the U.K. and a series of financial woes and strikes.
Once audiences have exhausted the available seasons of “The Crown,” they might enjoy diving into the royal scandals of Henry VIII’s court in “The Tudors” (available on Netflix). Or for viewers looking to try out a different monarchy, there’s HBO’s “Catherine the Great,” which follows the later part of the Russian queen’s reign.