DIRECTOR: Michael Engler (the chaperone)
starring: hugh bonnevile, michelle dockery, jim carter, and maggie smith
REVIEWER: lyall carter
The continuing saga of the Crawley family and the servants who work for them in the English countryside in the early 20th century.
I boarded at my Nana's place during the reign on Downton Abbey. There was very little else apart from rugby, a bit of politics, and the royal wedding that Nana and her friends talked about. From its television debut in 2010, Downton Abbey has commanded the intense fandom which is usually reserved for superhero and sci fi tales. And its not just people of my Nana's vintage that love it, but Downton has a special place in the hearts of people of all ages all over the world. And I reckon the movie will meet all of their expectations.
Picking up from where the series left off, Downton Abbey reintroduces us to the Crawley family and their staff as they prepare for a visit from the King and Queen to Downton. As the royal staff arrive, it becomes increasingly clear that the Downton staff will not be required to serve not only the Royal family but the Crawley's. So the staff hatch a plan to save their honor, and restore Downton to its rightful place.
Being a little foggy on the vast majority of the plot and where the characters are up to now in their individual stories (I don't know if I've even watched all of the seasons if I'm honest) I soon picked up the threads. I think if you've never seen a single episode you will still get whats going on and be immediately thrust into the story.
The story structure is very similar to the way in which the TV series operated; a whole lot of individual personal stories that interweave, all filled with a dash of mystery and intrigue. The scale of the story and the production is the same as the TV series which was in every way top class. From its costumes and sets to its score and cinematography, Downton Abbey was made for the silver screen.
Its hard to put a finger on exactly what made Downton the phenomenon that it was as a TV series but a lot of it has to come down to a longing for a simpler, more innocent time. Downton has a way of wrapping you up in a big, warm embrace and lets you escape to the world of the English aristocracy for a couple of hours. The film is no different, all the feels are there.
The cast are pitch perfect but the standout, as was with the series is the one and only Maggie Smith. Her performance as the Dowager Countess is the stuff of TV legend and she had the whole cinema in fits of laughter with her saber like wit and digs.
Exactly what every fan of Downton Abbey would have wanted and so much more. A blissful escape to Downton. What could be better?