“Downton Abbey” movie makes old friends feel right at home


Raider Times photo / Jaap Buitendijk/Courtesy of Focus Features

Many familiar faces from the TV show returned for the “Downton Abbey” movie.

Anaïs Markwood, Raider Times staff

“Downton Abbey” is a popular British drama that aired six eventful seasons beginning in 2010. When the renowned series finally came to a close on Christmas day in 2015, fans were sure that the fun was over, but creator and writer Julian Fellows had other plans …

The “Downton Abbey” movie was announced in July 2018 and is set to hit theaters on Friday, Sep. 20, only a week after the world premiere in London.

The new “Downton Abbey” film has something for everyone. Whether you are a die-hard fan of the franchise or have never heard of it, the movie will definitely prove entertaining. Between the beautiful scenery and cinematography, the swelling music, and the incredible acting, the movie hardly needs a storyline to be worth watching. However, the creators of the show knew how much they were living up to by making a movie four years after the end of the series, and this is reflected in the fast-paced and intricate plot that will give audiences a sense of excitement and fun throughout the film. 

The series began in 1912 with the sinking of the Titanic, with the series ending on New Year’s Eve, 1925. The film picks up about a year and a half after the end of the show, in 1927. The time period is a big part of the both the show and movie as both focus on how much the world changed in the years that the story covers. 

One of the reasons fans have cited for the show’s popularity is the sheer number of characters and storylines incorporated into any given episode. The movie keeps this same format up, at one time interweaving two wildly different stories to create an entertaining juxtaposition. Another hallmark of the show is the dichotomy between the servants’ lives downstairs and the family’s life upstairs. This keeps the show constantly interesting because the plot lines up and down stairs are often completely different, creating variety in the characters and in the issues that they face.

Raider Times photo / Jaap Buitendijk/Courtesy Focus Features
Many familiar faces from the TV show returned for the “Downton Abbey” movie.

Though the movie reflects this, it also diverges from the show in that the stories of the two worlds are tightly connected, creating a sense of unity between all the characters, whether they are upstairs or down.  

Lastly, another positive parallel between the show and movie is that the cast of characters is almost exactly the same between the two, letting audiences get another glimpse into the lives of the characters they have grown to love, while having the intrigue of a few new characters — including the king and queen of England! 

Despite the many positive qualities of the movie, there are a few aspects of it that more serious fans might dislike. For instance, a few supporting characters had to be left out for the sake of time, and some characters that have rich storylines and personalities in the show fell by the wayside (also due to the time limit).

Additionally, the film has less of a specific plot focus than the show does and sometimes falls to more conventional cinematography, such as being more fast paced, and having moments when it seems like the film is waiting for an audience reaction before it continues. However, these are things that newcomers to the franchise won’t notice at all and certainly won’t ruin the experience for fans (or even be too noticeable). 

Though “Downton Abbey” fans are mostly adults and teens, the movie is appropriate for kids of almost any age — the beautiful costumes and fast-paced enough to keep young ones interested even if the story is beyond them. 

Overall, the movie is a perfect combination of humor, touching emotion, drama, and good, old-fashioned fun. The production quality is incredible, and this works together with the entertaining plot to create a movie that anyone can enjoy.

–Sept. 20, 2019–