Helen McCrory birth anniversary: A note to lionhearted Aunt Pol
Helen McCrory would have turned 53 today, had she not left us this April. The thespian, who made Polly Gray or Aunt Pol of Peaky Blinders immortal, succumbed to cancer, despite putting up a brave fight. The BAFTA winner left me amused with the amount of courage and emotion she brought on screen. Today on her birth anniversary, I celebrate my idol of strength.
McCrory's on screen portrayal of Polly Gray changed the fact (for me) that women were timid and dependent back in the 1890s. Defying all the boundations, we see Aunt Pol, who's probably in her fifties, covet for drinks and sex. She knew well how to snatch privilege from the male-dominated world. Liberation oozing from her eyes left me craving to see women have freedom.
It would be wrong to say that Helen died of cancer, because she will forever live with us in the form of Aunt Pol. Besides knowing how to walk in pride, she always had tricks up her sleeve to outsmart any situation. The most important lesson that she taught me was how to be brave and stand strong, even if no one's with you.
There was a point in the show where I thought Helen's character couldn't get attached to anyone. Right then, comes her son Michael Gray (Finn Cole). To note, Polly's son was snatched away from her just after he took birth. Polly patrolled extreme ends to get him, after knowing that he's alive. That made me wonder about the limits I could cover for beloveds.
The moment that shook me the most was when my symbol of power was forced to have sex with Major Campbell to free her son from jail. My heart ached alongside Polly's pain. And then when she was mulling murdering Campbell, I felt the equal rage of revenge. For me, Polly killing Campbell was not a crime, it rather was a shielding action.
Aunt Pol pushed me, and many others, to live a carefree life. The actress followed the same, even in reality. Damian Lewis, her husband, once said that "Her (Helen) ability to be in the present and enjoy the moment was inspirational." While the entertainment industry will miss Helen, the actress, I'll miss that sponge, who absorbed all my worries. Thank you, Helen!