Downton Abbey, the beloved historical drama series that followed the lives of the Crawley family opened to rave reviews when it premiered in the UK way back in 2010. Over its six-season run, the series picked up and maintained more viewers than it started with.
For once, the people agreed with the critics. This series about a fictional aristocratic family was must-see television. At the time, it seemed everyone was watching it and now there is a movie.
Set immediately after the series ended, Lord Grantham (Bonneville) receives a telegram stating the King and Queen of England are coming to Downton. Naturally, the family and staff get into a bit of a tizzy as they set about planning for the royal visit.
Then, to the eternal consternation of the downstairs staff, the palace sends along its own people to tend to their Majesties.
Well, I never!
If you’re a fan of the series, you can imagine how well this news was received.
Should I watch it?
I’ve seen written that this movie adds nothing to the phenomenon that was the TV series. And they’re right.
But seriously, what movies do we really, need?
If you’re a fan, and I most certainly am, this movie is a must-see. Starring a literal who’s who of British acting, all your old favourites are back, with a few new characters thrown in for some added drama.
And it’s just as wonderful as you hoped it would be.
Violet Crawley (Smith) and Isobel Grey (Wilton) are in spectacular form, firing off razor-sharp, pointed barbs at one another from their opening scenes. It was and always will be one of the great joys of Downton Abbey to watch these two Dames spar on camera.
The story is a wee bit convoluted in parts but you forgive it because what it lacks in these moments, it more than makes up for with new characters, story arcs and, dare I hope…. hints at a return to Downton Abbey TV series?
The locations, the sets, the costumes and the tiaras are all perfection. The sweeping shots of the Abbey are stunning!
But it’s our dear Mr Molesley’s reactions to the visit by the King and Queen that somehow manage to steal the show. The dinner scene itself is worth every single cent you paid for the movie ticket.
I will concede, this movie is really for the fans but if you’re a fan, you must go and see it now. And take some tissues.
Running Time: 122 minutes
Release Date: In cinemas now
Who is in it: Dame Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Joanne Froggatt, Laura Carmichael, Elizabeth McGovern, Hugh Bonneville, Robert James-Collier, Imelda Staunton, Penelope Wilton, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Kevin Doyle