“Sometimes the women have to take over.” – Polly Gray (Peaky Blinders)
Many may have known Helen McCrory as Aunt Polly in the Netflix hit show, Peaky Blinders. Opposite of the male character lead, Thomas Shelby (played by Cillian Murphy), Helen played the strongest female lead in the notorious British series.
The word “strong” is overused across descriptions of women with qualities like assertive, decisive, persistent, tenacious, and other distinguishable traits. But in this context, it encompasses the abundance of qualities in her character, Aunt Polly.
Although she portrayed a tough matriarchal figure to the Shelby family, she exalted this character with tenderness and love. McCrory deployed all her acting skills in this role. Viewers can witness the complexity of her character in moments of danger, grief, and joy. You would have to watch the show to recognize where these instances happen. That goes with saying, the program is pretty emotionally-intense (like Grey’s Anatomy season 3-9 intense).
Before Peaky Blinders, McCrory already had a laundry list of roles on television, film, and stage. A woman that stayed booked and busy in show biz attests to her talents in the field. Some may remember her in a few of the Harry Potter films, or Hugo, or Skyfall. Her acting presence remained consistent in the last two decades, she would have been hard to miss.
Now that she passed away at the early age of 52 from cancer, her presence will be missed. Rest in peace, Helen McCrory.