Review: DOWNTON ABBEY Is A Welcome Return For The Crawleys

FIRST IMPRESSION

Surprisingly enjoyable and dense, Downton Abbey is an all-around solid return to a beloved world, sure to please fans of the series.
Writing
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

Downton Abbey, the much-anticipated continuation of the British television show of the same name, is a welcome treat for fans of the series, as they will get the chance to revisit the eponymous manor and its residents and servants. Packing a whole season’s worth of juicy stories into a single two-hour film, this movie breezes by and will leave audiences clamoring for another trip back across the pond.

The story follows the Crawley family and their servants as they prepare Downton for a visit from the King and Queen of England. But as any viewer of the series would know, there are plenty of dynamics at play to be explored in any situation like this. Watching the residents and servants prepare for the royal visit is quite entertaining, largely because the stakes feel higher than they ever have before, even if it is still melodrama.

That said, the subplots are the real star of the show in the film. The fact that writer Julian Fellowes was able to do so much in a relatively short runtime is thoroughly impressive. In the past, Fellowes’s feature-length efforts have been bland and struggled to strike that balance between the main storyline and the B-plots. Downton Abbey seems to have broken that curse, perhaps because he was already comfortable in this world.

The movie also contains plenty of witty dialogue, which was perhaps the best part of the series. There is a musical quality to the lines of the film because they are written in a way that is lyrical and rhythmic. Although this may strike some as pretentious, those who would feel this way are unlikely to see the movie, as it is designed primarily to cater to devotees.

downton abbey ball
Michelle Dockery stars as Lady Mary Talbot and Matthew Goode as Henry Talbot in DOWNTON ABBEY, a Focus Features release. Credit: Jaap Buitendijk / Focus Features.

However, since the film is intended for people who have already seen the show, newcomers may have a hard time connecting with the characters. The character development is very much reliant on having a pre-existing connection to the characters in the show. Some arcs, such as that of the butler Thomas, build directly off of what was established in the series, while others take the characters in new directions.

Regardless, the actors all seemed to enjoy their return to these roles. The beloved performers from the show all come back to the same or greater levels as they left a few years ago. Maggie Smith is as wonderful as ever as Violet Crawley. Will the AMPAS award her for the same role for which she was lauded by the ATAS multiple times? It is certainly possible. Another standout is Robert James-Collier, who is given even more to do as the butler Thomas, and shows that he deserves it.

On a technical level, the movie is obviously fantastic. It is common for television-to-cinema continuations to look and feel like an elongated episode of the show, but that is avoided here because the series was already quite cinematic. The cinematography and production design do a wonderful job of transporting the audience back in time to England in the 1920’s, and the score is just as elegant and harmonious as remembered.

Downton Abbey is highly unlikely to appeal beyond its core audience of people who have watched the show, but those who enjoy it will really enjoy it. One can only hope that fans turn out in droves enough that Fellowes and company will be compelled enough to allow another revival in a few more years.

Downton Abbey hits theaters on September 20.

TRENDING THIS WEEK

All American | Big Problems Trailer | The CW

All American premieres Monday, October 7. Stream free next day only on The CW App! SUBSCRIBE: https://go.cwtv.com/ALLShowyt About All American: When a rising high school football player from South L.A. is recruited to play for Beverly Hills High, the wins, losses and struggles of two families from vastly different worlds - Crenshaw and Beverly Hills…

Supernatural | Final Season Trailer | The CW

Supernatural premieres Thursday, October 10. Stream free next day only on The CW App! SUBSCRIBE: http://go.cwtv.com/YTSubscribe About SUPERNATURAL: The thrilling and terrifying journey of the Winchester brothers continues as SUPERNATURAL enters its thirteenth season. Sam and Dean have spent their lives on the road, battling supernatural threats that include everything from the demon that killed…

‘Why Is Tommy Still Alive?’ Ep. 4 Preview | Power Season 6 | STARZ

Tasha gets her groove back when she sparks a new flame. Ghost utilizes all his resources in an attempt to kill Tommy. Tommy’s primeras get caught in the crossfire. Tariq’s in over his head with Tommy’s Italian family and Dre forms an unlikely alliance. Joe Proctor’s relationship with his ex-wife takes a turn when he…

Mayans M.C. | Season 2 Ep. 3: Camazotz Preview | FX

Mayans seek justice while Galindo's deal takes an unexpected turn south of the border. Subscribe now for more Mayans M.C. clips: http://bit.ly/SubscribeFX Mayans M.C. is the next chapter in the Sons of Anarchy saga. Set in a post-Jax Teller world, EZ Reyes is a prospect in the Mayans M.C. charter on the Cali/Mexi border. Once…

The Deuce: ‘You In?’ Clip | HBO

The porn industry heads to CES - where new technology, and Lori, are on full display. #HBO #TheDeuce New Episodes of The Deuce, Mondays at 9:00pm on HBO. Starring James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Subscribe to the HBO YouTube Channel: https://goo.gl/JQUfqt Don’t have HBO? Order Now: https://play.hbonow.com/ Get More The Deuce: Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thedeucehbo…

Warigami | Paper Powers Trailer | The CW

Warigami premieres Sunday, September 15. Stream free next day only on CW Seed! SUBSCRIBE: http://go.cwtv.com/YTSubscribe About The CW: Official YouTube Channel for The CW Network featuring the hit series Riverdale, as well as Black Lightning, The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Supernatural, The 100, Dynasty, In the Dark, and Roswell, New Mexico. Connect…

Archie and Veronica’s Love Story | Riverdale | Netflix

You can’t help but feel the genuine connection and pure love that Archie and Veronica have for each other, and that’s what we’re all searching for...or at least sitting on our couches dreaming about. Watch Riverdale on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/80133311 Watch more about Riverdale, here on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bT35VuJRs9A&list=PLvahqwMqN4M12rnMr6qE_kry117wdfEmE SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/29qBUt7 About Netflix: Netflix is the world's…

The Walking Dead Season 10 Teaser: The End of the World

The Whisperers are on the move. Will the survivors be ready? The Walking Dead returns Sunday, October 6 at 9/8c on AMC. #WalkingDead #TheWalkingDead Watch The Walking Dead videos: https://goo.gl/P1AXdM Subscribe to the AMC YouTube Channel : https://goo.gl/Tu5rSx Fear the Walking Dead: https://goo.gl/CMLr9K Sign Up for the Fear the Walking Dead Newsletter : http://www.amc.com/shows/fear-the-wal... Fear…
Avatar
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here