‘Downton Abbey’ review: Nostalgic comeback of the beloved British series

Downton Abbey serves as a gentle drama that calls for a nostalgic experience not just for those who enjoyed the series.

The worldwide phenomenon Downton Abbey becomes a grand motion picture event, as the beloved Crawleys and their intrepid staff prepare for the most important moment of their lives.

Set two years after the series wrapped up, the Crawley family and their staff receive a letter indicating for a royal visit of King George V (Simon Jones) and Queen Mary (Geraldine James). Now the entire Crawley family – including Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery), Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael), and Countess Violet (Maggie Smith) – must work together to make the visit a success. Downstairs, the servants mightily labor under the direction of Anna (Joanne Froggatt), Carson (Jim Carter), and Thomas Barrow (Robert James-Collier).  The royal visit will unleash scandal, romance and intrigue that will leave the future of Downton hanging in the balance.

The film is an astonishingly effective piece of work, one that hits all the notes that made the TV show so successful. It features the same cast of characters, show creators, tone, and style. Violence and sex are kept on a mild level yet it manages to add a couple of new and entertaining stories to tell. The cinematography is splendid, the actors put on superb performances, and the musicals scoring teems with finesse, as always. Teamwork and perseverance are clear from the way both servants and family members pull together for the royal visit, and characters that were formerly cruel to each other are now very close to each other. Challenges and struggles come and go but everything works out as we see our beloved characters work together for one last hurrah in the Great House.

Downton Abbey is a much needed throwback especially for fans of the 6-season series that ended over two years ago. It’s always a challenge to create a film based on a series that had so many interesting twists and turns as Downton Abbey had. For most fans, the film definitely has the nostalgia yet the film does not disappoint newcomers as the plot is quite straightforward and easy to follow through. Yes, it is no doubt a love letter to its fans but Julian Fellowes balances everything that could have been expected from this reunion. In many ways, it feels justified and one can say it is a beautiful plot as it stay firmly within the guidelines Downton Abbey TV series established.

While the story is basically about the visit of the King and Queen, it takes two hours of rolling up the rugs, putting out tables and chairs, as the household staff rant, walk, or take the day off. But all of that is understandable because the film still delivers a magical and nostalgic reunion with lots of learnings to carry in the end.

One of the outstanding themes of the film is the cultural impact of class privilege in history and how it continues to this day. Downton Abbey overcomes the prejudice of privilege with its endearing values of hospitality and fairness. You’ll also be able to see the immense growth of every character – from Tom Branson’s charming change who has given a chance to love again, to impeccable Violet Crawley who always steals the best lines, to Robert Crawley who helps manage the Downton Abbey from up and down lifestyle of Downton. Overall, it is one beautiful return in being sumptuous and lovely as an affair which should thrill longtime fans.

Downton Abbey pretty much feels exactly like a two-hour episode of the TV show, and fans won’t mind one bit, for the film executes a great comeback. Its dazzling and inspiring themes might even generate newfound fans.

Downton Abbey is now showing exclusively at the following Ayala Malls Cinemas: TriNoma, Greenbelt 3, Glorietta 4, Alabang Town Center, The 30th, Bonifacio High Street and Ayala Mall Bay Area..
Directed by Michael Engler, Downton Abbey stars Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Kevin Doyle, Joanne Froggatt, Harry Hadden Paton, David Haig, Geraldine James, Rob James collier, Simon Jones, Allen Leech, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Sophie McShera, Matthew Goode, Penelope Wilton, Maggie Smith, Kate Phillips, Lesley Nicol, and Imelda Staunton.

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