‘The Crown’ Season 6 Reactions: UK Critics Trashing it While French Critics Adore it

Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ Season 6 has arrived, bringing with it a divide in opinions, particularly between UK and French critics. This season focuses on the events leading to Princess Diana’s death and its aftermath.

UK’s View: Divided Over “Ghost Diana”

The depiction of Princess Diana in the latest season has sparked controversy in the UK. Critics have focused on scenes where Diana, portrayed posthumously, interacts with other characters, which some have referred to as featuring Diana’s “ghost.” The show’s creator, Peter Morgan, clarified these choices to Deadline, stating, “The word ghost is unhelpful, I was never writing anything from a supernatural perspective, not at all. It felt to me more like an extension of her in real life, rather than a ghost.”

Season Overview

The season begins with Elizabeth Debicki playing Diana and Dominic West as Prince Charles, depicting their first summer as divorcés. Their sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, are played by Rufus Kampa and Fflyn Edwards. The first four episodes cover Diana and Dodi Fayed’s (Khalid Abdalla) relationship and its tragic end.

The Guardian: Critical Disdain

Lucy Mangan of The Guardian rates the season one star, describing it as “So bad it’s basically an out-of-body experience.” Mangan criticizes the series for losing its balance and falling into the abyss despite strong performances, particularly by Debicki. She remarks, “After her death, Ghost Diana appears… as a kind of ministering angel… Ghost Diana is all of a piece with what is now simply a crass, by-numbers piece of film-making.”

Related: Everything We Know About The Crown Season 6

The Independent: Skeptical Reception

Nick Hilton’s two-star review in The Independent highlights the show’s shift towards speculative gossip. He points out the reduced focus on significant characters like Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret. Hilton comments, “The Crown has taught the world what it meant to be British… But it has also run out of road.”

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The Telegraph: Creative Critique

Anita Singh of The Telegraph, in her two-star review, questions the series’ creative trajectory. She observes, “It’s hard to escape the suspicion that the writer has real contempt for this family.” Singh describes the ghost scenes as “an act of desperation.”

The Times: Appreciative Yet Critical

The Times offers a four-star review but criticizes the portrayal of Diana’s “ghost.” The review concedes, “It wasn’t the show’s finest hour, that’s for sure. It is also peculiarly self-defeating in an otherwise powerful and moving opening four-episode suite.”

Empire: Emotional Resonance

Empire, also granting four stars, highlights the season’s emotional depth: “This is the most emotional The Crown has ever been… However you feel about these ghosts… Episode 4 remains an unforgettable hour that elevates the season as a whole.”

BBC: A Mixed Bag

Caryn James from the BBC gives two stars, acknowledging the strength of the show’s speculative elements but noting its flaws. She observes, “There is clumsiness throughout… including the ongoing stark contrast between Diana’s sun-bathed days and the dark wood and shadows inside Buckingham Palace… Too often in these predictable last seasons… we could have written the story ourselves.”

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Radio Times: A Thoughtful Approach

Radio Times awards three stars, recognizing the challenges faced by the creators. The review states, “They had to sell the profundity of the moment… Thankfully, for the most part, they succeed… The way Diana’s death itself is handled is effective, poignant and above all thoughtful…”

The Standard: Praise for Performances

The Standard, with a four-star rating, praises the performances of Debicki and West. It remarks, “This season is even more plagued than the rest by us knowing what happens. The interest is in how we get there. And boy, Peter Morgan fills the gaps.”

French Critics Embrace ‘The Crown’

The latest season of ‘The Crown’ has found a warmer reception among French critics. Their reviews often contrast starkly with their British counterparts, especially regarding the portrayal of Princess Diana.

Télé-Loisirs: A Tribute to Diana

Télé-Loisirs views Season 6 as “a love letter to Diana,” commending the posthumous depiction of her character. The review appreciates the lightness and emotional depth of the scenes where Charles and the Queen converse with Diana, countering pre-release controversies. Télé-Loisirs remarks, “This first part of the final season… reminds us to what extent the series deserves its nobility and… Netflix will have difficulty replacing it.”

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Libération: Reflecting on the Narrative

Libération provides a more critical perspective, noting the series’ handling of Diana’s death. The review observes that while avoiding conspiracy theories, the series indulges in the same paparazzi-like fascination it critiques. The review reflects, “…the series participates in what it denounces by devouring the last moments of Diana with the same voracity that we criticize the paparazzi.”

Le Figaro: Shakespearian Delicacy

Le Figaro praises creator Peter Morgan for his “Shakespearian delicateness” and describes the vision of Diana as “incredibly powerful but very destabilizing.” The review highlights the nuanced and complex portrayal of Diana’s character.

Tele 7 Jours: Humanity and History

Tele 7 Jours lauds the season as “masterful,” with particular praise for Elizabeth Debicki’s portrayal of Diana. The review emphasizes the series’ ability to convey humanity and the impact of the paparazzi, noting, “Behind the accident… The Crown tells the story of humanity, cruelty, the desperate quest for love…”

RTL: Suspense in Certainty

RTL admires the production’s quality, noting its balance in creating suspense despite the certainty of historical events. The review commends the series for its “incredible realism” and the creative team’s consistency in maintaining high production quality.

The French critics offer a diverse array of insights into Season 6 of ‘The Crown’, appreciating its emotional depth, production quality, and complex portrayal of historical figures.

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