Saturday, December 3, 2022

What I’m Watching: The Crown

The Crown: Season 5, Episode 4 “Annus Horribilis” (B+)

This show really is a fascinating examination of family, one that, at its best, draws fascinating parallels between the various members of the royal family. I remember back to Philip’s misery about not being able to go into space because that wasn’t what his path prescribed, and we got to see that happen with Margaret as she expressed her unhappiness about not being allowed to marry who she wanted when she felt everyone else had been afforded that opportunity. This show has previously provided superb showcases for Vanessa Kirby, who appeared briefly in this episode, and Helena Bonham Carter, and this was no different for the fantastic Lesley Manville, an Oscar nominee for “Phantom Thread” who should have been nominated - and won - for “Another Year.” It was very rewarding to see her and Imelda Staunton sharing scenes where the sisters expressed their honest feelings and then admonished themselves for sappily saying I love you, something they immediately deemed “low class.” I also appreciated seeing Ben Miles again as the young Peter Townsend after watching the actor regularly on “The Capture” and “Andor” since then. Margaret wasn’t even the most miserable relative who came to talk to the Queen in this hour - that would be Charles, who had to hear about how personal happiness in marriage was merely a preference for a future monarch. The Queen Mother’s response to Elizabeth’s speech and her use of Latin was particularly interesting, though she obviously chose to say what she planned in the end anyway.

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