Review by Lauryn Angel
The residents of Downton Abbey are back with a new movie, and as the title suggests, there are big changes afoot. Downton Abbey: A New Era is a film for a very specific audience, and those who are not fans of the Julian Fellowes drama will not likely appreciate the film, as it requires foreknowledge of most of the characters, but fans of the Granthams and their household will likely enjoy this installment, as I did.
The film opens with Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) once again worrying about finances, as Downton needs a new roof. The solution is to allow a film crew led by director Jack Barber (Hugh Dancy) shoot a film in the house – much to the scandal of Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville). To pile one scandal on top of another, the Dowager Countess, Violet Crawley (Maggie Smith), is informed that she has inherited a villa in the south of France from a man she knew for just one week, many years before. Violet won’t say why he left her the villa, and the man’s family is hesitant to give it up, so Lord and Lady Grantham and a small entourage head to France to inspect the property on Violet’s behalf.
There is nothing new under the sun, and that applies to this movie. There are plot lines borrowed from other sources, and the characters behave in the ways fans expect them to. Still, this is an enjoyable dose of Downton for those who miss watching weekly. There is a sense of finality to this installment, however, as if the new era will continue without our spectatorship – or perhaps if we do return to Downton Abbey, it will feature the children as adults? Whether we get more Downton remains to be seen, but if this is it, this film gives us satisfying closure.
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