Downton Abbey is a historical period drama directed by Michael Engler, starring Maggie Smith in its massive cast of returning characters and newcomers. This feature film is a sequel to the British drama series, Downton Abbey, which had received much acclaim from its fans and critics.
Set in 1927, approximately one year after the events of the original television series, Downton Abbey follows the story of the Crawley family and the residents and servants of Downton Abbey. As the television series covered a storyline of roughly twenty four years, the film began with a brief recap of most of the major characters and their development over the years. The film’s plot starts with a letter being delivered from Buckingham Palace to Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville), the Earl of Grantham and the head of Downton Abbey. As news of a royal visit from King George V (Simon Jones) and Queen Mary of Teck (Geraldine James) spreads, excitement and anticipation swells among the residents and servants of Downton Abbey. However, the hopes and pride of the Downton Abbey family are crushed when the snobbish servants of the Royal Household attempt to take command of the services of Downton Abbey during the duration of the royal visit. Amidst the intricate plans of the servants of Downton Abbey to restore their pride and retake their rightful jobs, various side events, such as an attempted assassination of the King or a raid on a homosexual night club, occur. Although the film can be quite dry at times, the audience is constantly rooting for the success of the Downton Abbey residents.
Although this film did not have any components that were outstanding, it was a very solid and enjoyable work. The cast members were charming and efficient at portraying their respective roles, whether they were playing the part of an elitist snob or a witty intellectual. Additionally, the plot, despite having a slow start, develops into one that is consistent and easy to follow.
So far, Downton Abbey has received mixed reviews. While some critics praise the movie for its success in evoking nostalgia, others criticize the story line for lacking the luster of the original television series. Regardless, Downton Abbey has been quite successful in theaters, earning 157 million dollars in the box office from its twenty million dollar budget.
Despite having unique characters and a lighthearted plot, Downton Abbey is not a movie for everyone and should only be worth the time of those who have watched the original series or have the patience to sit through trivial details until the plot truly unfolds.