Netflix’s THE CROWN: Moondust Effectively Shows How Faith In God Can Cast Out Doubt
*Editor’s Note: In honor of The 28th Annual Movieguide® Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry, we’re highlighting nominees for the upcoming ceremony. The Gala will be broadcast at a later date on the Hallmark Channel.
Below is a portion of the review from THE CROWN: Moondust, which is nominated for the GRACE PRIZE® TELEVISION (Tobias Menzies) and the FAITH & FREEDOM AWARD® FOR TELEVISION.
Set in July 1969, the “Moondust” episode of THE CROWN follows Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s husband, as he marvels at the American astronauts who successfully travel to the moon, land on it and return home.
The episode begins on July 5, 1969 as Philip watches his television in Buckingham Palace. Three male astronauts, Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins, discuss their concerns and excitement about their upcoming voyage to the moon during a press conference. If they succeed, it will be a first for all of humanity.
Queen Elizabeth, Philip and their family go to a Sunday church service shortly thereafter. Philip is indignant to attend, and Elizabeth puts out feelers for a younger priest who can keep the congregation engaged. Enter Dean Robin Wood, the man hired to do the job. Wood implores Philip to use one of the spare homes on the ground as a retreat center for British priests. Philip reluctantly agrees but thinks that action, rather than discussion, is better medicine.
The royal household awakes in the middle of the night to see the moon landing on July 20, 1969. After the three American astronauts successfully land, Philip stays up late watching the television and listening to the great achievements of these men. He even tears up. Days later, while flying an airplane, Philip pushes the engine to its capacity to get a thrill and taste for how the astronauts might’ve felt.
Wood asks Philip to check out the new retreat center called St. George’s. However, Philip is restless and openly expresses his distaste for their conversations about faith because they’re not “doing” anything. Philip storms out of their meeting.
Queen Elizabeth extends an invitation to the astronauts to come to Buckingham Palace. Before their arrival, Philip meticulously plans questions for the trio, for their one on one meeting. However, once he sits in front of them, their sense of vigor and zeal for their accomplishment isn’t what he was expecting.
Philip returns to St. George’s after his mother, a nun, passes away. In this scene, Philip details his frustrations with the astronauts, himself, and the questions and thoughts he has on faith. The episode ends with him asking for “help” from the other priests at the retreat center.
“Moondust” is a well-produced episode of Netflix’s THE CROWN. The music in the episode is evocative, the story poignantly depicts the character emotions, and the filmmakers stylistically marry the action of the actors with soundbites and film clips from the actual events.
Christian audiences of “Moondust” will enjoy the episode’s very strong Christian worldview. Most positively is the character transformation of Prince Philip from an apathetic Christian to one of repentance and a need to walk alongside other believers. However, “Moondust” does merit light caution for brief foul language and alcohol use.
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