Downton Abbey: A New Era

Hello, hello!
Are you reading for a trip to the 1920s? Well, let’s embark on a little journey to Downton Abbey together and discuss the latest movie in the franchise!

The Plot (as found on Rotten Tomatoes):

From award-winning creator Julian Fellowes comes the motion picture event DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA. The much-anticipated cinematic return of the global phenomenon reunites the beloved cast as they go on a grand journey to the South of France to uncover the mystery of the Dowager Countess’ newly inherited villa.

The Rating:

Because deep down at heart I’m 70 years old, I, of course, went to see the new Downton Abbey movie as soon as it hit the cinema. Let’s be honest though, we all know what kind of content Downton Abbey is, so I really wasn’t expecting much from the movie.

First of all, it’s been ages since I’ve seen the show, so the first quarter of the movie was spent trying to remember who everybody is on my part. Oopsie. However, that was an issue quickly overcome and I managed to nicely settle into the story. While there are some moments where they are just trying to hard and some parts where the story is a tad flimsy, overall, this was surprisingly good. I’ll start with discussing some of the criticism I have before moving on to my favorite bits – so beware of spoilers from here on out!

Speaking of flimsy parts, the bit with the mansion in France is definitely in that category. I feel like they were trying to blow that up more than it was delivering. I mean, I would have understood it if Grantham was actually the French guy’s son, but as it is that whole thing felt somewhat anticlimactic. Presumably, the main reason for this storyline was to provide a change of scenery and that was definitely achieved!

Also, the whole part with Cora’s illness really lacked substance. I can’t remember whether any of that had been mentioned or hinted at before in the show or in the other movie, but it was so much of a weird side note like they didn’t even really pay attention to eat even though she believed she was terminally ill! I get that she was trying to keep it a secret and to play things down but the depiction somehow did not match the gravity of the situation.

Furthermore, I still cannot warm up properly to Mary. I found her supremely annoying in the show and even though her character has improved since I don’t like her too much. Which is why I could only roll my eyes when the director played by Hugh Dancy was coming onto her.

Anyway, there were a lot of things about this film that I did, however, enjoy. First and foremost is as always, the amazing, the wonderful, the incomparable Maggie Smith. She is, was, and always will be the best part of Downton Abbey. Even though she does not have that many scenes in this movie, she more than delivers in the ones that do feature her. We, of course, need to talk about the ending (of the Dowager). Maggie Smith’s performance is – among other things – so intense and memorable because her character passes away. That scene is perfect and hit me in the feels so freaking heart. Especially because as I was watching the film, I was pondering the fact that Maggie Smith is amazing but she is also quite old now, so I was wondering how many more movies with her we’d get to see. And then they kill her, kind of putting a finger in the wound.

Other than that, I quite like the storyline about the movie being made at Downton. The show has thus far done a great job showing how things change over time, also depicting economic difficulties those at Downton face. And this time we get to (partially) witness the changes in the film industry brought about by technological advances, most importantly being the possibility to produce movies with dialogue. It had never occurred to me that this pivotal point in filmmaking might have been the end of many careers. It was such an intriguing thing to watch unfold. Even if some parts of the story weren’t 100% it or some of the characters were a little annoying, overall it was quite fascinating.

If you enjoyed the Downton Abbey show and movie so far, you’ll also love this one. It isn’t perfect, but honestly, for what it is I was pleasantly surprised with how good it turned out to be.

Did you watch the film? Let me know in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “Downton Abbey: A New Era

  1. I watched both Downtons for the first time back to back and was surprised by how lesser this movie felt. With the exception of Maggie Smith. Maybe it was COVID related and easier to keep the cast off into their own bubbles. I mean I enjoyed it for what it was but definitely preferred the first.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s been so long since I’ve seen the first film that I don’t remember it enough to make much of a comparison.
      I had really low expectations for this film, however, and it turned out better than I would have thought. I know what you mean though!

      Like

  2. Pingback: Wrapping it up for August! | The Punk Theory

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