Release Year: 2019
Director: Michael Engler
Writer: Julian Fellowes (screenplay – characters created by him for the television series Downton Abbey)
Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGowan, Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, Tuppence Middleton, Allen Leech, Laura Carmichael, Imelda Staunton, Robert James-Collier, Joanne Froggatt, Brendan Coyle, Jim Carter, Phyllis Logan, Geraldine James, Simon Jones, Imelda Staunton, Kevin Doyle, Sophie McShera, Penelope Melton, Matthew Goode, David Haig, Michael Fox, Douglas Reith, Kate Phillips, Harry Hadden-Paton, Max Brown, Raquel Cassidy
The Crawley family and the staff at Downton Abbey face their biggest challenge yet as King George V and Queen Mary pay them a visit.
The television hit Downton Abbey (2011-16) created by Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park, 2001) captivated countless fans, who loved following the Crawley faamily and there staff during the 1910s and early 1920s. So naturally many have been curious as to what happens to the many characters after the end of the series. This film gives some of the answers as it serves as a continuation of the character arcs. Set in 1927, the proud old house is turned upside down for a royal visit. The story is good and the film can probably be seen without prior knowledge of the television series, but it is not advisable. We get more of what we like: the wonderful Maggie Smith (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 2011) gets a last hurrah as the dowager countess, JIm Carter’s trusty retired butler, Carson, returns to save the day, Allan Leech’s highly likable Tom Branson gets an opportunity to prove his alligance once and for all. However, the film also repeats some of television series’ more unfortunate storylines. For instance: the new Butler, Thomas, has one of the most interesting character archs in the whole series, but in the later seasons his character’s potential was wasted in a storyline focussed exclusively on his sexuality. It is a shame that such an interesting character should be reduced to only that. The film takes that particular plotline and takes it too far, moving into the unrealistic territory. But, apparently, even a story about an aristocratic family living a hundred years ago must adopt the zeitgeist. Despite these minor squabbles the result is one that fans of the series will thoroughly enjoy. Plus, everything looks extra gorgeous on the big screen.
Mark Addy, who portrayed ‘King Robert Baratheon’ on Game Of Thrones, plays the grocer ‘Mr. Bakewell’ in the film. This makes him the 8th actor to have appeared in both Game Of Thrones and Downton Abbey. The others are Rose Leslie, Iain Glen, James Faulkner, Richard E. Grant, Simon Lowe, Martin Walsh, and Ron Donachie.
Picture Copyright: UIP