Television shows are an amazing display of storytelling that run for years and often last longer when done right. PBS managed to hit one of those shows out of the park, with a lovely British display of class, poise, comedy, and drama for six seasons about a wealthy family and the manor they keep. So many things coursed through this the drama, that it became a cult phenomenon and ended on quite a bang. So a movie to further the tales of the Crawley family, in hopes to once more capture the charm and profit from the class of English society. Robbie K back with the first review of the week as he takes a look at the film:
Movie: Downton Abbey (2019)
- Continues where the series left off
- Nostalgic Moments brought back
- Same Class and Charm
- Funny and well balanced
- The Acting
- The Music
- Slow At First
- A Few characters limited
- A Few Story Plots Crammed In That Were Unnecessary
A television series takes adequate time to set things up and develops the characters well for us to fall into and invest time. Fortunately, the movie manages to pick up where the series left off, including all the character transitions, decisions, and more. It works, and manages to tell a new story while maintaining the traditions that made the series famous. My friend and I both found nostalgic moments throughout the film, many of which were great to nod to as they adapted to the changing times that the manor was facing. Yet despite the gap in air time, this film manages to find a way to make the class and charm fit well into the new dilemmas, addressing political issues from today but twisting it back into the classical English style. Maintaining that quality was a wonderful representation, that manages to put the fresh coat of paint on the old place. In addition, the movie manages to find ways to inject its drier humor, without being too forceful or untrue to itself. Maggie Smith’s character in particular alongside her partner in crime made for the most entertaining, but there were several other moments that fit well. Really though, it’s the acting that makes this movie shine, with the cast reprising their roles and accomplishing all that was necessary to recreate the group one more time. The cast is too big to hit everyone up, but let’s face it, this all-star group proved for many years that they can take tired plots and run with them and that is the case with this film. As for the music, well the regal soundtrack is certain to illicit some strong emotions as the subtle cavalcade of instruments unite to once more bring aristocratic numbers to the scene and embrace the nobility at hand.
Yet, where the film does not succeed for me is in the pacing. While I’ve always understood this show does not have the fastest pace, but at least it had bite size episodes to gradually introduce the drama and tackle the stories at hand. In this film though, despite the quality it took a bit to take off and with it made it a little boring and hard to stay awake at times. Once the pace kicked in though there were not too many limitations, as again they chose not to make the same plots but move on from the tale. Sadly, not every character managed to make the cross for a decent amount of time, lost to background stories or last-minute entries. My friend is correct in that this was mainly the other characters had most of their qualms taken care of, but also I would have liked these classic characters to return in a little more style. Finally, the other thing I did not quite enjoy was how many episodic plots were introduced in the movie. On the positive it felt like a lot of episodes combined into a 2-hour period, but my friend and I agreed that some of these plots could have been shortened or dropped off altogether to allow for something else to move in. Downton Abbey the movie seemed to lay groundwork for new things to arise from, but this closure seemed like it could have been better used in an additional season to really deliver the full potential that this series already laid long ago.
Returning to the abbey was a fantastic trip down the road of nostalgia and new, as the latest chapter in the Crawley residence comes in many classy forms. The charm and wit of a time almost gone acts for a solid foundation and will pull everyone into the movie as you relive the magic. Great acting, wonderful human, and most importantly the balance of humor and drama makes this movie a worthy addition to the legacy of the regal series. Sure, the pace is not quite as good given limitations to one showing, some of the characters are not as strong as they once were, and it was a little busy in the run time. Despite this though, I recommend the film be enjoyed by all fans in the theater, while others will be wanting to hold off until home viewing.
My Scores are:
Movie Overall: 7.5