Downton Abbey is directed by Michael Engler and written by series creator Julian Fellowes. Worldwide phenomenon Downton Abbey is back in the form of a theatrical movie which takes place a couple months after The Finale. The Abbey get a royal message saying that the King and Queen are planning to stay at Downton for a day which sets off a movie full of romance, drama and historical delight. The movie stars Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Allen Leech, Laura Carmichael and Dame Maggie Smith among the many others in this wonderful ensemble cast.
I had head about Downton Abbey for a while, it was immensely popular when it was on but I had no interest in it back then however when I saw the trailer for this movie, my interest was peaked. I decided to start watching at the last minute, I spent all of October catching up, watching the highs that were Series One, Two Three and Six and the lows that were Series 4 and 5. Series 5 is better but it is still not as good as the others, in my opinion. I’ve come to love these characters, even some that I downright hated at the beginning. It’s been wonderful seeing these characters grow and experience the changing times of the 20th century. When I got to the cinema I was waiting in the queue for the movie and to be waiting to see the movie with the fans was truly special, even more so since most of them were British! Watching something that the entire audience loves together, there was a tangible sense of happiness and love that I would never get from watching any other movie, making this experience a wonderful one even if the movie was bad, which thankfully, it was quite the opposite.
Downton Abbey continues as if it never left, it felt natural, it didn’t seem rushed or forced, it felt like another episode but with a bigger budget. I do have to say, even though I only started the show this month, watching these characters on the big screen and hearing that incredibly gorgeous music against the beautiful scenery, it felt like a special event. The one aspect I was really concerned about though was the pacing. Even though I love the show, the pacing can be awfully slow at times and I was really worried the movie might be dragged out but I was impressed to see how fast the movie had gone by. The Christmas Specials feel longer than this movie and those have thirty minutes less than this movie’s runtime. I like how this movie felt like a send-off and a new beginning at the same time, however it made one thing sure, there is more story left for Downton Abbey and I can’t wait to see where it takes us. I took a friend with me to see this movie, he had never seen a single episode and not only did he follow the story well but he enjoyed it a lot, so you don’t need to be a Downton Abbey fan to enjoy this movie.
In typical Downton Abbey fashion, the cinematography is stunning, this time even more so with the upgraded budget. The movie starts out with a series of different shots showing England and once we’ve hit the streets from York, it feels like we’re back home, even more so when the camera pans up to show the abbey in it’s former glory. The sight of that with the iconic theme playing in the background was breathtaking. Speaking of the theme, the wonderful music by John Lunn is once again one of the main stars of the show, the show and movie would not be the same without it. The cast is just as great as ever as this lovable family. Since there are so many characters, not everyone got a chance to shine but the ones that did used their screentime perfectly.
While Edith and Lord and Lady Grantham aren’t in the spotlight, Mary and Tom get involved quite a bit, especially Tom whom I was really happy to see getting more attention. With the exception of those two and The Dowager Countess who was as sassy as ever, the real story shines on downstairs. There is a funny and wildly entertaining sub-plot regarding who does what when the King and Queen arrive and let’s just say that it was handled in a way only Downton Abbey would handle it. Other than that I was immensely happy to see Thomas get more importance and actually do something about his life as a gay man in 1927, even though his arc was short, it was one of the highlights for me. Molesley got the funniest scene in the movie, the entire audience was in tears laughing.
Overall, Downton Abbey comes back as dramatic and stylish as ever proving not only that there is more story to tell with these characters but it can do so pulling it off as a movie, an achievement not many franchises can say. Despite the four year gap between the show’s finale and this movie coming out, it feels like it never left once the movie starts. The trademark score and scenery of the show is present in the movie making it feel like an episode itself. The cast also help with that by bringing the wit, charm and humour we all know and expect from them. I will happily wait another four years for a sequel.