Downton Abbey Review
Dan Skip Allen
Are you ready for the Upstairs/Downstairs world of Downton Abbey? I sure am! When I heard Focus Features was going to make a feature film of one of my favorite TV shows of recent memory, I was ecstatic! Could they emulate the phenomenal dichotomy, politics, witty banter & incredible charm of the PBS Show. That is a yes! This film is like a two hour long spectacle version of the TV show and I loved every minute of it. It was like a symphony for the ears and Rembrandt for the eyes.
If you know anything about the Emmy award winning tv show you know it’s about how the Upstairs people live and how the Downstairs people serve them. Also how the Downstairs people stay out of the way of the Upstairs people.The upstairs family are the Crawley’s. They are a well to do family in England. Leader of the family is Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville), his wife Cora Crawley Countess of Grantham (Elizabeth MaGovern), and there two daughters Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery) and Lady Edith Crawley (Laura Carmichael). Tom Branson (Allen Leech) is their son-in-law. He married the third Crawley daughter who died in childbirth on the TV show. They receive the news that the King and Queen of England are touring England and are coming to stay at Downton Abbey.
With this news comes the inevitable shock and concern by the Downstairs people. Jim Carter portrays Carson, the Head Butler. He is retired, but because of the emergency of the situation he has been recruited to come back and help out again. Barrow (Robert James Collier), is not happy about this turn of events. After all he is the new Head Butler. Anna Bates (Joanne Froggatt) and her husband John Bates (Brendon Coyle) jump in and do what they do best; offer emotional support and fast thinking. Ms Patmore (Leslie Nicol) and Daisy (Sophia McShera) are fast on their feet in the kitchen making a splendid meal for everyone.The Footmen and Ladies Maids are all busy in preparation for the big day. After all, the Royals don’t come to Downton every day.
The cast is stacked with all the regular members of the family and the help, but let’s not forget Violet Crawley, the inimitable Maggie Smith. Along with Isobel Gray (Penelope Wilton), they eat up the scenery together with their usual witty banter and backhanded compliments. New to the cast is Lady Bagshaw (Emelda Staunton) and Henry Talbot (Matthew Goode). He’s the love interest to Lady Mary Crawley. Everybody plays their part to put on a good show for the King and Queen. They all have their own subplots that add to the overall film. Which makes it so much more enjoyable.
As soon as this film started, the music started playing, the overhead shots of a train and the castle I knew and loved, I was thrust back into that time and place again. I love the whole dynamic of these people and the problems and so forth. The added nature of the King & Queen imminent arrival created new storyline and brought with them new characters. The feel of the show was still here in this movie though and that’s the most important thing. This movie is terrific, I loved it!
Dan Skip Allen