Review by Lauryn Angel
Downton Abbey fans rejoice! We have a new Downton story, and it’s very satisfying indeed! Those who aren’t familiar with the show? Well, this movie really isn’t for them. It’s for those who watched it for six seasons and want an update on how their favorites are doing. On that front, the movie does its job admirably.
The main plot of the film is an impending royal visit to Downton Abbey. King George V and Queen Mary are expected to dine and stay the night with the Crawleys. The film opens with the journey of the letter with the news travelling from the palace and ending up in Lord Crawley’s (Hugh Bonneville) hand. Cue the hustle and bustle of frantic preparation. Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) takes over the planning of the parade; Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol) goes into a tizzy planning the menu; and Barrow (Robert James-Collier) experiences a twinge of doubt as to whether he’s up to the task of guiding the house through such a grand affair. When the servants are notified that the royal family will be bringing their own servants, robbing the Downton servants of the honor of serving their king and queen, there is much bristling and muttering. Those upstairs expect problems from the visit as well. The queen’s entourage includes Maud Bagshaw (Imelda Staunton), a cousin of the Crawleys who had a falling out with Dowager Countess Violet (Maggie Smith) over a question of inheritance. Irish Repblican Tom Branson (Allen Leech) seems to be under surveillance by a stranger in the village.
There are almost too many plots for one film, and some of the storylines seem somewhat rushed – as if an entire season was compressed into a mere two hours. And with that, many of the complications that would arise over the course of a season are quickly smoothed over. Barrow has an interesting storyline that I would have liked to see developed more; young Daisy (Sophie McShera) and her fiancé Andy (Michael Fox) have a subplot that mostly feels like an afterthought; and Henry Talbot (Matthew Goode) has barely more than a cameo (which I found the most disappointing).
That said, as a fan of Downton Abbey, I found the film absolutely delightful. There’s closure, but enough seeds for another movie down the road. And I expect the film will do well enough that fans will get another trip to Downton.
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