Gillian Anderson is one of the few newcomers to Netflix’s hit drama, who also include Emma Corrin as Princess Diana and Tom Byrne as Prince Andrew.
However, it is Anderson’s “jaw-dropping” portrayal as conservative British prime minister Margaret Thatcher that has garnered the most praise.
The Independent wrote: “Anderson has done something extraordinary in making an often vilified historical figure feel like a real human being.”
The Washington Post’s Hank Stuever added: “The real news this time is Gillian Anderson’s devastatingly precise portrayal of Margaret Thatcher.”
Stuever goes so far to say her performance is “better” than Meryl Streep’s Oscar-winning take on Thatcher in 2011’s The Iron Lady.
Entertainment Weekly called Anderson’s turn as the prime minister “viscerally physical”, while The Oregonian’s Kristi Turnquist described the actor’s performance as “played with clenched jaw virtuosity”.
Quite liked The Crown, but Gillian Anderson is playing Margaret Thatcher weirdly far too old for 1979 – almost closer to Meryl Streep’s Alzheimer-era
— Peter Bradshaw (@PeterBradshaw1) November 15, 2020
The Playlist’s review said that Anderson’s Thatcher “should be the definitive performance [of the figure] for years to come”.
However, not everyone was as impressed. The Guardian’s Rebecca Nicholson wrote: “I imagine Gillian Anderson’s Thatcher will be divisive: she is remarkably un-Anderson-like, devoid of that icy cool that she does so well, and her mannerisms and posture are uncannily good, her tone of voice unwavering.”
Oh, please, present Gillian Anderson with an award, any acting award. Absolutely brilliant as Margaret Thatcher Gillian. Bravo. #TheCrown
— Janelle (@Bundynelle) November 15, 2020
Meanwhile, the publication’s film critic Peter Bradshaw shared his views on Twitter in a post that read: “Quite liked The Crown, but Gillian Anderson is playing Margaret Thatcher weirdly far too old for 1979 almost closer to Meryl Streep’s Alzheimer era.”
The general consensus on social media, however, is one of praise. Many users are already calling for Anderson to win awards for her performance. One fan wrote: “5 minutes into The Crown – Just give Gillian Anderson all the awards now and have done. She is magnificent.”