The Downton Abbey movie is rated PG and comes with a warning of ‘mild threats’.
‘Oh, you… Wally!’
‘How very dare you mildly threaten me!’
Yes, that is about as dramatic as this movie gets.
If you’re looking for an intense period piece that’s going to get your heart racing, this is not for you. But that’s okay. As most people will know, that’s not what Downton Abbey is about. It is certainly no EastEnders! It’s much more easy-going.
The year is now 1927, two years after we last left the characters. It opens with a postman delivering the news that the King and Queen are going to be spending a night at Downton during their upcoming royal tour of Yorkshire.
As you can imagine, excitement is in the air – but the royal visit comes with its stresses too with so much that needs doing.
Each sub plot stems from this particular visit. The Downton and Royal staff clash, there’s questions raised regarding Lady Maud Bagshaw’s (Imelda Staunton) relationship with her maid – and someone even wants to kill the King.
Yes, I know I said there was little drama and I stand by that.
But the assassination side ‘dish’ was resolved too quickly – which is probably my biggest criticism. So much more could have been done around that storyline.
So this is all classic Downton stuff – that has no real sense of dread.
For me, the best thing about this film is the interactions between the posh folk upstairs and the working class staff downstairs. As the scenes flick between them, it’s almost like you’re watching two different movies and yet they blend together so perfectly.
All your favourite characters return, and as there’s so many of them I must stress that you’ll probably need to have seen Downton to truly appreciate the movie.
There’s no reintroducing anyone – with series mainstays such as Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith and co all returning – it’s very much giving the assumption that you’re already a fan.
And I don’t think fans will be disappointed.
The screenwriter is Julian Fellowes, who is the man behind the country-house murder mystery Gosford Park in 2001, which won him the Oscar for best original screenplay. This is very Gosford Park. But more importantly, this is very Downton Abbey as you know and love.
If those are your cup of tea – then this will be right up your street.
ESP Rating: 3.5/5
Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth Mcgovern, Tuppence Middleton, Matthew Goode, Imelda Staunton, Joanne Froggatt, Brendan Coyle, Phyllis Logan, Allen Leech, Robert James-Collier, Stephen Campbell Moore, Maggie Smith & Penelope Wilton