Gretchen Lee – Staff Writer
Since the Downton Abbey TV show first graced our screens in 2010, it has captured the hearts of a very loyal and loving fanbase across the globe.
The timeless story of the Crawley family takes place during the decline of the British aristocracy in the late 1910s and early 1920s. The residents and staff of Downton Abbey experience a range of challenges, mistakes, and emotions as they navigate the new world they are entering. From Dame Maggie Smith’s fiery portrayal of Lady Violet to Michelle Dockery’s Lady Mary Crawley, the actors brought drama and entertainment to all six seasons of the series. After the show came to an end in 2015, fans asked for a movie follow-up—and their wish has come true nearly four years later.
The Downton Abbey movie starts a few years after the show’s end. The Crawley family has just received word that the king and queen of England will be staying for a night at Downton Abbey as they tour the English countryside. The household flies into a fury as they prepare to host the royal family. They face several complications along the way including, but not limited to: aggravating chefs and butlers from the royal household, Lady Violet’s aggressive scheming to advance her son’s status, a broken boiler, inconvenient rain, an assassination plot, and a series of missing valuables.
This movie was undoubtedly written for the fans. From the classic witticisms by Lady Violet to the bumbling footman to the general grandeur of the set, everything was perfectly in Downton style. That being said, this movie focused a great deal more on creating a sense of familiarity for fans than writing a solid, discernable plotline. There are numerous plotlines throughout this story, but only a few of them gain any sense of conclusion at the end of the film. This makes sense as it was derived from a drawn-out television series.
What the movie lacked in structure, however, it made up for in fantastic costume and set design, fanservice, humor, and dialogue. Every scene was a delight to the eyes and ears. This was also a very satisfying ending for the characters.
One of my concerns going into this movie was that it would disrupt the way the TV show ended, which was an ending I, and many other fans, felt very satisfied about. The movie succeeded in providing just enough additional content to the characters lives to make it interesting, while also leaving each of them in a great place.
If you have seen the Downton Abbey TV series, the movie makes a wonderful addition to the show. For those who are unfamiliar with the series and are simply looking for an enjoyable movie to watch, the background knowledge provided by the show is a necessary prerequisite to understanding the characters and context. It is a great continuation of a beloved show, but not a very well-developed movie on its own.