“Downton Abbey” stars Hugh Bonneville, Jim Carter, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton, and Penelope Wilton. Released in the United Kingdom on September 13, 2019, the film has the residents of Downton Abbey preparing for a royal visit by the King and Queen.
The film is directed by Michael Engler, who also directed “The Chaperone”. It is based on the television series of the same name created by Julian Fellowes. Every once in a while, we ask ourselves this simple question: What happens after our favorite show comes to a close? When a popular series ended its run, it left fans to wonder what their favorite characters are doing next when they’re not on their television screens. There were also some fans that wanted their favorite shows to come back in some shape or form, either as a television film, a theatrical film, a new season, or a reboot series. Most of the revivals never came to fruition, but some of them were able to see the light of day. One of the examples of the latter is a small series known as “Downton Abbey”. “Downton Abbey” is a British drama series that chronicles the lives of an aristocratic family and their domestic servants in the post-Edwardian era between 1912 and 1926. It premiered in the United Kingdom on September 26, 2010, followed by the United States on January 9, 2011 and lasted for only six seasons, ending its run with a Christmas special on December 25, 2015. During its run, it received acclaim from critics and audiences and received numerous awards, including a Golden Globe and a Primetime Emmy Award. Three years later, a feature film adaptation of the show was confirmed to go into production, which will serve as a continuation of the series, and the rest is…dare I say it…history. I haven’t exactly watched the series that this film is based on, mostly because I’m not exactly a huge fan of historical drama shows. But I wound up checking it out anyway because I want to know what made the series so popular in the first place. If you’re wondering why I didn’t watch the show first before I watched the film, well…it’s because I didn’t feel like it. With that said, let’s see if it’s worth my time.
Much like the show it’s based on, the story in “Downton Abbey” involves the main characters, such as the members of the Crawley family, and how their lives are impacted by a certain historical event as well as their own personal problems. This time, the Crawley family received word that the King and Queen are visiting their English country home as part of their tour through the country. During the visit, the family and their servants are pitted against the royal entourage over an inheritance issue and there’s also an assassin who attempts to kill the monarch. All I can really say about this film with the best of my abilities is that the overall story is a real-life drama that offers nothing more but a relaxing and safe experience for people who needed a break from the real world. From my own perspective, having a story that’s light-hearted and devoid of any hard-hitting conflict can work wonders for an older audience, especially long-time fans of the show, but it can also be a weakness for newcomers, especially me. The film has a central plot that’s rather endearing and simplistic, but the sub-plots that appear pretty often didn’t quite capture the same impact as the main storyline and came off as a series of slow-paced fillers that were needed to meet its desired two-hour runtime. If this type of narrative is exactly like the one from the show, then I’m 100% sure that fans will enjoy this film more than I did. For what it’s trying to do, it did its job quite well, but I couldn’t help but feel that it played itself a bit too safe for those who haven’t watched or heard of the show to begin with. While its story wasn’t my cup of tea, I did find a few moments that were able to impress me, such as its engaging cast. Much of the original cast from the show returned to reprise their respective roles, including Hugh Bonneville as Robert Crawley and Jim Carter as Charles Carson, and they all did their part in successfully bringing their characters to life once again. The best part of the cast has to be Dame Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley for her amusing banter. After watching the film for myself, I can understand why everyone love the show that much. I believe it’s because of the characters that people can easily get attached to. They often make conversations with one another through witty bantering, they deal with their own personal problems, and they express their feelings towards historical events. They’re basically like us, but classier. I could be wrong about this since I didn’t watch the show, but right now, that’s just how I see it. I also thought the film’s set designs and the costumes were top notch given its preferred timeline. It’s almost like I was actually looking at England in the year 1927.
Overall, the film adaptation of “Downton Abbey” serves as a respectable and delightful reunion for long-time fans of the show, but it also serves as a tough sell for plenty of newcomers. Even though the charismatic cast and the set designs made the visit worthwhile, its flawed sub-plots and pacing prevented me from staying a while longer. Maybe if I watched the show first and then watch the film, I might like it a bit more than I did. I would highly recommend it to people who watched the show. As for the newcomers, I would say they should watch a couple of episodes of the show first.