Hi! It’s been a little bit since I’ve done a good old-fashioned movie review but I saw Downton Abbey on Thursday with some friends and I was blown away. I’m approaching the movie independently of the show, so my perspective might be different from that of a devoted fan, but I definitely loved the aesthetics and social politics.
The first descriptor I thought of was delicious. Being someone who didn’t watch most of the show, I had a little catching up to do but I got the overview quite easily. I only ever saw one episode from season 1 but I got the basic overview of who everyone was. It was interesting to see which characters had been promoted or gotten married or changed in other ways.
For the feature film event, the decadence of Downton is on in full force for a visit from King George V and Queen Mary. The ladies of Downton alternate between lavish ball gowns and sassy flapper dresses. Lady Mary and Lady Cora also wear trousers on occasion, which is a commendable characterization choice. The color saturation was turned up and the autumn setting added some lovely foliage for the long shots of the Abbey. Overall the aesthetic value is a trademark of the show, and the movie does not disappoint.
There’s lots of repressed sexual tension, which was surprising and fun to watch. Not only is there an endearing romance between the widower Thomas Bransom and a maid named Lucy Smith, there is also a surprising plot involving the King’s Royal dresser and the head butler of Downton. I was impressed the creators of the series were willing to tackle the topic, but again I missed most of the show. It was done tastefully and added a modern flair to a show rooted in antiquity.
The servants of Downton get to shine as they fight for respect against the arrogant Royal servants. This provides some comic relief, particularly when one Downton servant messes up the one task he had simply because he can’t keep his mouth shut-we’ve all been there. I want to give a shoutout to Mr. Bates, who is the only disabled character in Downton, but is treated with respect as a member of the household all the same.
One of the more intriguing plot lines revolves around Lady Bagshaw, lady-in-waiting to the Queen and cousin to Lord Grantham. Lady Bagshaw disregards Lord Grantham as her heir in favor of her servant Lucy Smith. This angers Violet and she picks a fight with Bagshaw, but the reveal of her motivations settles everything. However Lucy’s character is a bit flat throughout the movie. She is less someone who does or says things and more someone that others do and say things about.
Getting to see Downton Abbey while on study abroad was a treat. While we watched it in Ireland, the show reminded me more of our visit to Windsor Castle than to Melrose or Westminster Abbey. Melrose was a historic ruin and Westminster is an active religious institution. This trip has mainly focused on literature and less on politics, so we haven’t talked much about the structure of English nobility, but I want to do some independent research on titles and estates and all the stuff that makes for fun TV.
Overall I give the movie a 10/10 for stunning visuals, engaging characters, and modern aspects. Recommended for fans of period pieces, British television, and dramas about relationships. If devoted fans of the show have issues with the movie, they are entitled to their opinions. As for me, you may call me Lady Elena of Shoreview. 😊 👑
Bon Voyage 🇮🇪 E