Sunday, February 23, 2020

Downton Abbey: If You're a Fan of the Series You'll Love the Movie

Movie Review: Downton Abbey (2019)
Version: Library borrow

If you enjoyed the television version of Downton Abbey, how could you not love the movie version? It includes all the lovable and not-so-lovable characters but without the week-long wait for the story to continue. And with the back story already established, all you really need is to sit back and watch the action unfold -- well, action in a British soap opera unfolding with the speed of mold growing kind of way.

My wife is a big fan of Downtown Abbey. I'm not especially so. However, I found it interesting to look in and see what the Crawley family and their staff have been up to while the rest of the world has been spinning around this vaster, faster globe. And it really didn't disappoint. The main plot involved a visit by King George V (Simon Jones) and Queen Mary (Geraldine James), which of course has the whole family, the whole staff, and the whole town in a stitch of excitement. Subplots include the intrigue of competition between the abbey staff and the royal staff serving the royals and a big to-do between cousin Maud (Imelda Staunton) and the earl's mother Violet (Maggie Smith) involving the passing on of the family fortune to her maid instead of to the earl. And then there's the matter of the disquiet caused by republican voices during the royal visit, which brings unrest and a secret plot.

Avid fans of the series should feel well sated by the great cast, the bucolic scenery, and the British sensibility. If you're new to the story lines, well, be warned: It's much ado about tradition, classism, and resistance to change even facing the advancing modern times. Still, who can resist the irritable Maggie Smith always getting the best lines.

Downton Abbey will likely warm your heart on a cold winter's night or cool your heels if you're caught out on a hot spring evening. Give everything a rest and ooze into the drama with a cup of tea or a glass of wine or perhaps a sip of brandy and let the Crawley family take the worries out of your day.

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