Downton Abbey – the Movie
Several years ago (January 29, 2015) I shared some thoughts about the Downton Abbey TV series. Then I suggested that in addition to the six seasons of entertaining plot set in Edwardian and Georgina times, one of its attraction was an experience of nostalgia – a sentimental longing for and reassurance of past times.
If that was true of the series, the film sequel added to this experience by the pleasure of seeing familiar faces, places and dilemmas once again. For Abbey fans it is a gift.
The plot centres around the visit to Downton of King George and Queen Mary with their travelling retinue. As upstairs and downstairs prepare for the reception and entertainment of their royal guests, Downton reminds of old times. But as each member of the household is true to character and task, there is something added in the film.
The Dowager Countess of Grantham and Lady Merton are even more acerbic in their verbal sparring. Lady Mary, is more maturely directive. Daisy acts more strong-willed both in the kitchen and love relationships. Mr. Moseley still impressionable demonstrates new loyalty and creativity.
The Dowager Countess and Lady Mary learn to say that they were wrong in opinions formed and decisions made. The Countess in her judgment of the intentions of a close relative, and Lady Mary about her brother-in-law Tom Branson who himself discovers the path to a new life.
Thomas Barrow asserts himself as a butler and a person. Perhaps most effectively for the film, Anna and John Bates turn out to be dynamic leaders as they counter the interference of the Royal staff in household affairs.
The King’s servants who come to Downton with very high opinions of themselves, leave someone deflated and chastened. In all of this Downton grows in independence and maturity.
The staff and the family emerge from the royal visit more thoughtful and more independent. Perhaps Julien Fellowes will view the success of this first film as an invitation to follow the household with a sequel of further adventures. One can only hope so!