Coming to Bluray from Netflix and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment comes the sensation and pageantry of THE CROWN: The Complete Fourth Season.
It is 1979 the Conservative Party in England has elected the first woman Prime Minister in Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson). Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Colman) soon discovers that Thatcher is a bit on the sexist side leaving her majesty a bit taken aback. On the home front, Charles (Josh O’Connor) is being told by his uncle Mountbatten (Charles Dance) to stop the shenanigans with Camilla Parker Bowles (Emerald Fennell). Charles does take notice of a young Lady Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin).
The Queen invites the Prime Minister and husband to Balmoral and the new guests find themselves uncomfortable with their surroundings and the people. Charles is pushed to invite Diana there to visit with his family and they are delighted with the young woman and see a future.
The world is about to get a royal announcement from the Queen and Prince Philip (Tobias Menzies) regarding their son Prince Charles. He has proposed to Diana, and she has agreed although about to learn exactly what she has agreed too! The media immediately begins its assault on her, and the stress starts to show itself. There is also the relationship with Parker Bowles that Charles must take care of. Princess Margaret (Helena Bonham Carter) makes it clear she thinks the marriage is an absolute mistake, but the wedding goes on and televised internationally.
When Thatcher’s son goes missing during the Paris-Dakar Rally in Algeria, she turns to the Queen to tell her about it. If that is not enough, her majesty learns that there is favoritism among her children and wants to get to the bottom of it. Asking them individually, she learns things that surprise her and speaks to Phillip about it just in time to learn Diana is pregnant.
The Falklands is in the midst of problems, a man named Michael Fagan wants Thatcher to do something about the struggles the country is facing. Given a curt reply to his concerns, he takes them to the Queen in a way that is shocking for the Palace – more than once. Concerned with her people, trying to discuss them with the Prime Minister proves difficult.
Charles and Diana are preparing for a royal visit to Australia, the difficulties in the marriage are becoming more and more difficult to deal with. Arriving in Australia, the crowd loves seeing her, and the Queen takes notice. Even when they return to England and Diana tries to talk with the Queen about their problems in their marriage, it does not seem to change or help the situation.
Margaret discovers a long-time family secret regarding two cousins in the family. It makes matters worse that she is dealing with depression of her own and turns to the Queen Mother (Marion Bailey). Once she understands the reasons behind the family’s generational decisions, it does not make her any happier. Now, the Queen and Thatcher are having problems with their beliefs about apartheid in South Africa. Unhappy with what the Prime Minister is doing, there is a bigger fear that the women’s disagreements will become known by the press.
Charles resentments toward Diana grow when she gives a surprise performance at the Royal Opera House for his birthday. While the crowd is delighted, Charles is anything but. Then again, neither of them is being faithful no matter who in the royal household they talk to. Each are being destructive in their behavior and the Queen is well aware of it.
Finally, Thatcher is discovering that having a position of power might be fine, but it also means there are colleagues who have their own idea. She must decide if all of what is happening is worth continuing. Charles continues to be unhappy with Diana’s popularity and takes his frustrations out on his wife. Turning his hostility about not being able to be with Camilla out on her, it is the Queen who reminds him of his duty to family and country and it is Prince Philip that reminds Diana of her own obligations.
Colman as Queen Elizabeth is stunning, marvelous, wonderful and captures everything I would expect from taking on the roll of the Queen. It is a period of time filled with so much turmoil and revelations, but Colman takes the reigns and ride through it all with such grace. I absolutely love Colman with every role she takes and being able to experience the story through her is epic.
Anderson as Thatcher has a story to be told this season as well. Being the first woman Prime Minister in an age where it was unheard of it amazing, having Anderson play the role brings THE CROWN to new heights. What I can say about Anderson’s performance is that I forgot it was her because she had me totally enthralled in the story.
Menzies as Prince Philip is standoffish, does not seem to have a hand in the children he’s brought into the world and has strong opinions that are filled with bit. A fan of Menzies since his days on another successful series Outlander, I was thrilled to see him take on the role of the prince. There are moments Menzies gives us to think that perhaps he will change his thinking and then, he returns to a stoic royal.
O’Connor as Prince Charles is a man who does what everyone wants him to do. Following the advice of his Uncle Mountbatten, then the Queen, then his father and even his mistress, O’Connor gives Charles all of that – and even a side to him that is slightly cruel to my way of thinking. Continuing to blame Diana for his unhappiness, O’Connor makes sure we experience the reason for it all.
Corrin as Lady Diana is a woman who fell hard for the prince and could never have imagined what that world was really all about. Once married, Diana discovers what goes on behind closed doors including her own as Corrin’s performance brings us the excitement in the beginning and the sadness that follows the truths that come out about her life and marriage.
Shout out to Bailey as the Queen Mother and Bonham-Carter as Princess Margaret. It is interesting to see Carter grow in the stories that are shown about Princess Margaret and the life of the spare to the Queen. Also, Dance as Lord Mountbatten is wonderful, but I have for years enjoyed every performance and role he has chosen (even that of Sardo Numspa, yes, I have just aged myself).
Other cast includes Erin Doherty as Princess Anne, Stephen Boxer as Denis Thatcher, Tom Brooke as Michael Fagan and Charles Dance as Lord Mountbatten.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment encompasses motion picture production for television, digital content and theater releases. The studios include Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Stage 6 Films and Sony Picture Classics. To see what is coming to theaters and to home entertainment please visit www.sonypictures.com.
Bluray Special Features of the 4-disc 459-minute set include Triumph & Tragedy: Diana and Charles, Three Groundbreaking Women, Research, Costumes & More: The Making of Season 4, and Photo Gallery.
Season Four episodes include: Gold Stick, The Balmoral Test, Fairytale, Favourites, Fagan, Terra Nullius, The Hereditary Principle, 48:1, Avalanche and War.
THE CROWN: The Complete Fourth Season is beautifully done, and the set designs and costuming are stunning in every aspect. The story is made even richer by those two things and Netflix did not spare any expense bringing it. I love when I can be transported into a film or series because designs and costumes make the journey so easy.
The cast is sheer perfection with Colman, Anderson, Menzies, O’Connor, and Corrin. Adding Dance and Bonham-Carter is topping on a very delicious sponge cake! Every actor and actress who has had a part in the telling of THE CROWN deserves recognition, I just do not have enough space for you all but THANK YOU!
THE CROWN has been nominated for twenty-four 2021 Emmy Awards and winner of four 2021 Golden Globes including Best Drama Series.
In the end – this is their life behind the palace gates!