Downton Abbey brings back many familiar faces while also having to serve as an effective conclusion to the six-season series.
What brings everyone back for maybe the final time is the arrival of King George V (Simon Jones) and Queen Mary (Geraldine James). As one could probably imagine, this comes with some stress for the Crawley family. It brings on some added stress for the staff because they find themselves being pushed aside because of the Royal Staff. Moreover, Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) gets brought out of retirement to serve as the butler. This is only temporary as the position will revert back to Thomas Barrow (Robert James-Collier) after the royal visit. This will lead to some humor sooner rather than later. Molesley (Kevin Doyle) delivers one of the biggest laughs in the film!
The arrival of the King and Queen also means the arrival of Lady Bagshaw (Imelda Staunton) and her maid, Lucy Smith (Tuppence Middleton). Lady Bagshaw is a part of the Crawley family but has managed to cut herself off from the family over the years. With the Royal Family in town, there’s obviously going to be some drama at hand. In particular, Violet Crawley (Maggie Smith) displays that ever-loving wit of hers in demanding to know who her heir will be.
While there are several characters to keep up with over the course of two hours, everyone gets their moments to shine. Tom Branson (Allen Leech) gets a love interest, which certainly makes up for the fact that his wife died shortly after giving birth to their child. No spoilers here as you’ll just have to wait and see.
With Mr. Carson taking over his old position, Barrow doesn’t have much to do this time around. He’ll find himself at a bar before we know it. However, the film doesn’t forget his sexuality. In fact, we see a good amount of it on display. Okay, maybe not THAT much. What we do see does play into the laws of the era and what happens if he gets in trouble. It’s for the benefit of the film that we see this aspect of his life because we don’t see it all that often.
Fans of the series will find the film to be charming, witty, and everything they remember. I wouldn’t recommend going into this film without having watched the series in full. For newbies, I would recommend watching the YouTube recap. That said, it isn’t enough in trying to remember who is who in the film. At least, this is how I found Wednesday night’s screening. This isn’t to say that I didn’t at least have some fun. British accents are sexy! Dame Maggie Smith also steals the show whether she means to do so or not!
Visually speaking, every now and then we get an establishing shot displaying the Highclere Castle in all it’s full grandeur. What a site it is to behold! The Harewood House is also a splendid delight to behold on screen.
It may not be Community but Downton Abbey has given its viewers six seasons and a movie.
DIRECTOR: Michael Engler
SCREENWRITER: Julian Fellowes
CAST: Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Kevin Doyle, Joanne Froggatt, Matthew Goode, Harry Hadden-Paton, David Haig, Geraldine James, Robert James-Collier, Simon Jones, Allen Leech, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Sophie McShera, Tuppence Middleton, Stephen Campbell Moore, Lesley Nicol, Kate Philips, Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton, Penelope Wilton