Review: The Crown (Netflix)

The Crown started Friday November 4th 2016 on Netflix. A total of 10 episodes.

I have been waiting for this series to come to Netflix ever since they’ve announced it last summer. I just finished watching Downton Abbey then and was looking for another period drama to continue binge watching. But there weren’t many series in that genre that could hold my interest for more than 2 episodes.

I’ve spend three evenings watching all ten episodes of The Crown and every minute was worth it. I expected a high quality show not just on visual aspect but also in storytelling. And The Crown has not let me down. But then, I am a bit biased because I do particularly love English period drama and history in general.

The story starts late 1940s showing Elizabeth in love with Philip. Elizabeth, as any young woman at that time, longing for a loving husband, becoming a wife and mother.

As the series move on, we come to know more about the life of young Elizabeth; how she turned from a princess to heir presumptive and eventually crowned to be Queen of The United Kingdom. What impact that life had on her and her family. And we get to know the rules, scandals and intrigues behind the facade of the Royal House.

Although Elizabeth knows that one day she will become the Queen of The United Kingdom, that day came sooner than she thought. When her father, King George VI, died of lung cancer while Elizabeth was on the Commonwealth tour in her father’s place, she’s instantly transformed into Queen Elizabeth and has almost been denied the time to even grieve.

From this moment on the journey starts for Elizabeth. She is bound by the strict rules and customs of the Royal House, the cabinet and Church. She has to keep up the reputation of the Royal House to her people and the people around the world. She has to be the perfect Queen. That contradicts her life as a woman.

Creator Peter Morgan constructed the story very well and made every characters almost touchable. Completed by the excellent performance of  Claire Foy, you can almost feel what The Queen felt when she has to take yet another decision that is against her own feeling and of harm to the people in her life. You can feel how she struggles to be a Queen and a daughter, sister, mother and wife at the same time. How powerless she is and yet how strong she stayed in the roll. It touches you and you will sympathise with Elizabeth.

The Crown is said to be the most expensive series on Netflix of all time. If you’d ask me, I’d say it’s well invested. It is a wonderful and compelling show with excellent directing and cinematography.

It is, though, not an action driven series, but more a character drama. The pace is slow and the story sometimes goes into details of an event. If you’re looking for fast paced stories, this is not your cup of tea. But if you love period drama and biopics, I highly recommend The Crown. In my opinion it is a fine piece of art.

And now we wait for season two.

 

httpss://youtu.be/JWtnJjn6ng0

Downton Abbey, reviver of my writing spirit

“To persevere, trusting in what hopes he has, is courage in a man.”

~ Euripedes

In the past few months I’ve finished and rewritten my first screenplay. I’ve even sent it out to some screenwriting contests. I was very proud and satisfied and It gave me strength to carry on.

The idea for my first story came to me rather easily and I do strongly believe in this story. But now that it is finished I felt myself falling into a dark hole. I have another story in mind but it doesn’t feel as strong as the first one. So, I started to doubt. I doubt myself, I doubt my capabilities, I doubt my skills.

While I was self pitying I thought I might as well watch some TV series or movies to cheer myself up (and for research of course!). As I was curious why Downton Abbey was so highly recommended (and because of the wonderful Dame Maggie Smith) I started to watch it on Netflix. After the first episode I was already hooked.

It was not a very good idea, starting to watch it; I finished watching four seasons in three days! After that my mind could only think of Downton Abbey! And every character flows in my mind all day long. I think about the fate and fortune of all characters. The good ones and the ill-minded ones. That doesn’t happen often when I watch a movie of series. I did not only enjoy the serie, I actually learned a great deal from it!

Every scene of every episode is so well constructed. Every bit of it contains intrigue, suspense, conflict and mysterious twists that moves the story forward and hook the audience. Every character is so well built that makes the audience curious about all their fates. From the earl to the footmen, from the ladies to the kitchen maids. Every story line is just so fabulously written. Watching the serie is almost like you’re a part of it yourself!

It could discourage a novice writer like me. Because watching such a masterpiece can make a novice writer, who struggles with story construction and writing, feel very small. But the odd thing is, I don’t feel that way! Downton Abbey was a wonderful gift to me (or rather, a subscription on Netflix was a wonderful gift I gave myself). It gave me courage to persevere writing. Julian Fellowes has shown me the tricks of how a good story should be and what good scenes need in order to push the story forward. He gave me strength to keep on constructing stories. And I just hope that one day I will have such a masterpiece of my own that people will love to watch.

 

Hear, see & do.

“I hear and I forgetIMG_5122
I see and I remember
I do and I understand”
~ Confucius

Confucius was a wise man. I would very much like to learn from this master. Fortunately, we can still find his quotes on internet more than 2000 years later.  These quotes are of very invaluable value and they inspire a lot of people for sure. At least, I’m inspired by them.

I hear and I forget.
It’ll struck almost every person, not just writers, that one will be hit by a sudden thought and it’s so important that one has to remember it. And like almost every person, one will think: that’s okay, I can remember that for later. But, by later, that thought is most likely disappeared. Gone. Vanished!  It happens to me a lot. That’s why I always keep a notebook and a pen with me everywhere I go. I literally write down everything I hear and see and save it for later.

I see and I remember.
Nowadays most of us have cameras on our phones. The camera app is the most frequently used app on my phone. I take pictures of every interesting thing that cross my path. It happens to me everywhere; when I do groceries or have coffee with a friend or picking up my kid from school. When I look back at the images I will relive the moment when I took that picture. If I stay in that state of mind, creativity will flow like streaming water. Very useful to write stories.

I do and I understand.
This is the moment that I bring the above two into practice. When I get home with a bunch of new notes and pictures I will sit down and start to structure them. I keep a folder on my computer to put all the stuff in it that I want to keep and I will delete the things that I don’t want. Because, too much info will confuse me. So, I just keep the special things. Then, when I get back to my work , I will look into the folder first to find the sources I need and continue my writing or start a new project.

What are your tricks on writing? Please share with me!