“It’s 1927, we’re modern folk.” – Bertie Pelham
It’s been almost four years, since the final episode of Downton Abbey aired on television and we had to say goodbye to the Crawley family. Who would’ve thought, there was more to explore and another story to tell? As things usually turn out after a successful series, the creators decided to bring back the entire cast (excluding Lily James, for no particular reason) and give the fans what they’ve been hoping for – a full length feature on the silver screen.
During the final episode of Downton Abbey, we witnessed Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery) take over the estate. We jump 18 months in time and everything seems to be running smoothly, although Lady Crawley doubts the family legacy will live on. When a letter arrives to announce a visit from King George V (Simon Jones) and Queen Mary (Geraldine James), everyone gets excited, until the royal butler and company arrive. They are here to make sure everything goes according to plan, while the estate’s crew gets pushed aside as if they don’t know how to handle things. What follows is a class war, behind the scenes of Downton Abbey.
Of course this doesn’t go unnoticed and tensions in the house rise, when Lady Mary invites retired former butler of the house, Carson (Jim Carter) to help in preparing for the royal visit, and thus pushing aside Thomas Barrow (Robert James-Collier) who had taken over his duties. Several subplots, including a snatching maid and a big secret surrounding Violet Crawley’s (a scene stealing Maggie Smith) cousin, Lady Bagshaw (Imelda Staunton) keep you entertained throughout the film.
Director Michael Engler and writer Julian Fellowes, who both also originally directed and wrote the series, are back and bigger than ever – even the well-known tune of the series sounds grander and more majestic. They introduce new characters, to bring happy endings to beloved favourites who never got one in the first place, and leave the door ajar for another story to be told. The film doesn’t explain every character’s background to viewers who aren’t familiar with the series. This is clearly made for the fans, who’ll love every single minute of it. You’ll laugh, you’ll cheer and you’ll shed a tear. Visiting Downton Abbey and the Crawley family is something we should do more often. It feels good to come home again.
Review – Downton Abbey
Reviewed at Event Cinemas Sydney, Sept. 12, 2019. ACB Rating: PG. Running time: 122 min.
PRODUCTION: A Universal Pictures release and presentation, in association with Focus Features, of a Carnival Film & Festival, Perfect World Pictures production. Producers: Julian Fellowes, Gareth Neame, Liz Trubridge. Executive producers: Nigel Marchant, Brian Percival.
CREW: Director: Michael Engler. Screenplay: Julian Fellowes. Camera (color): Ben Smithard. Editor: Mark Day. Music: John Lunn.
WITH: Maggie Smith, Matthew Goode, Michelle Dockery, Tuppence Middleton, Elizabeth McGovern, Allen Leech, Joanne Froggatt, Laura Carmichael, Kate Phillips, Imelda Staunton.