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Big screen adaptations of popular television series often underwhelm.

It feels like the filmmakers are pressured to introduce big dramatic sequences while needing to cram in and conclude storylines within a much tighter period of time – as opposed to spreading things out over a series or beyond. As a result, the characters and general vibes often feel so out-of-sync to what we’re used to.

There was a glimpse of this happening in the first Downton Abbey movie, with an extremely brief assassination attempt sub-plot being thrown in, which simply felt to me like ‘boxes were being ticked’ to make the studio happy.

This second outing (sub-titled A New Era) has stripped back the drama even further, keeping the story rather pleasant and arguably more uneventful – but it was a rather pleasing decision. Interestingly enough, I have seen fellow critics slam the movie for that very reason, but I dare say that those who've followed the series from the beginning – and know what to expect – will not be disappointed. I certainly wasn’t.

Written and co-produced by creator Julian Fellowes and directed by Simon Curtis (Goodbye Christopher Robin), the film takes place in 1928. We see the arrival of a film crew at the Crawley family’s iconic Downton Abbey. The crew are not welcome by many of the ‘upstairs folk’, while those ‘downstairs’ are mostly excited at the thought of some Hollywood glitz and glamour.

Meanwhile, Granny Violet Crawley (Maggie Smith) receives the mysterious inheritance of a villa in the South of France. Why would she be gifted such a luxurious thing by a man she’d spent so little time with? You’ll have to head to the cinema to find out.

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 I say, that is not what Downton Abbey is about. It is certainly no EastEnders!

This is perhaps also not for you if you’re unfamiliar with the show too. The movie very much makes the assumption that you already know the characters and their back stories.

So, this is ultimately very much for the fans – I took my Mum who absolutely loved it – and comes across more like a charming TV Christmas Special with all those familiar faces offering a big dose of lovely nostalgia.

It also welcomingly ties up loose ends in true Downton style – and efficiently does everything that a fan will probably expect. Nothing more, but that’s perfectly fine.

Rating: 4/5

Mikey Clarke

Showcase Cinema De Lux Peterborough, Out Now

Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Robert James-Collier, Michelle Dockery, Tuppence Middleton, Maggie Smith, Laura Haddock, Hugh Dancy, Dominic West, Laura Carmichael, Joanne Froggatt, Imelda Staunton, Allen Leach, Samantha Bond, Nathalie Baye, Brendan Coyle, Raquel Cassidy, Penelope Wilton, Jim Carter & Sue Johnston

Running Time: 2 Hrs 5 Mins

Director: Simon Curtis

Go to for all the latest film information & showtimes at Peterborough’s Showcase Cinema De Lux.


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