Pros: Meeting your favorite characters; completion of all unfinished stories in the series; rich scenery and costumes Cons: Predictable plot moves; extremely banal dialogues; some excess of molasses and pathos, especially in the final part of the picture; excessive royalism of Julian Fellowes Downton Abbey / “Downton Abbey”
Genre historical drama
Director Michael Engler
Cast: Hugh Bonneville (Robert Crawley), Elizabeth McGovern (Cora Crawley), Maggie Smith (Violet Crawley), Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Talbot), Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith Pelham), Allen Leech (Tom Branson), Jim Carter (Charles) Carson), Phyllis Logan (Elsie Hughes-Carson), Raquel Cassidy (Phyllis Baxter), Brendan Coyle (John Bates), Joanne Froggatt (Anna Bates), Kevin Doyle (Joseph Molesley), Rob James-Collier (Thomas Barrow), Sophie McShera (Daisy Mason), Penelope Wilton (Isobel Gray), Imelda Staunton (Lady Bagshaw), Geraldine James (Queen Mary), Simon Jones (King George V), Tuppence Middleton (Lucy), Kate Phillips (Princess Mary), etc.
Студии Perfect World Pictures, Carnival Films, Focus Features
Year of release 2019
The series Downton Abbey lasted six seasons on ITV, attracting an audience of 9–12 million viewers in the UK alone. The main idea of the show is to show the relationships and interdependence of the British aristocracy and their servants during the period of transformation of class relations during and after the First World War. This is exactly what is superbly shown in particular in the novels of Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, including the series of works about Jeeves and Wooster.
The series covered the time period from April 1912 (the Titanic disaster) to December 31, 1925 and touched upon both real events of those years and fictional facts from the life of the Crowley family, their relatives, friends, household members and servants. This interesting historical period included the Great War, the Spanish Flu epidemic, social and economic upheaval, the attempt of socialists to come to power in Great Britain, the impoverishment of the English aristocracy, etc.
Rumors about a possible adaptation of the series into film format appeared immediately after the end of the sixth season of Downton Abbey, but work on the project was officially confirmed only in the summer of 2018. The screenwriter of the film was the same Julian Fellowes, who played the role of showrunner of the original series, and Michael sat in the director’s chair Engler, who has worked on Sex and the City, 30 Rock, The Big C and directed four episodes of the original Downton Abbey. Fellows, who also acts as a producer of the project, received a very good budget by serial standards of $20 million and was able to develop to the fullest.
Set in the summer of 1927, a year and a half after the events of the series’ final Christmas episode, Downton Abbey revolves around the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Downton Abbey and the turmoil that accompanies it. Against this backdrop, many members of the Crowley family are trying to solve their own problems and find their place in the world.
The authors gathered almost the entire cast of the original series to work on the film, with the exception of Lily James (Baby Driver, Darkest Hour, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Yesterday), who is busy in Hollywood and too expensive for this film. In addition, the increased budget was allocated to decorations, including authentic equipment of the period, and costumes. So in the film you will find even more majestic castles, luxury cars, expensive dresses and luxurious interiors. Moreover, the terry royalist Fellowes literally savors every frame, showing the chic of a bygone era and all the pomp and pathos of the monarchical system.
However, sometimes aristocratic manners, and the author of the script bears the title of Baron of Weststafford and is a member of the House of Lords, play a bad joke on Fellowes. The 2002 Oscar winner for Best Original Screenplay for Gosford Park loses his sense of proportion, and his characters begin to spout stilted nonsense that literally sets teeth on edge. This is especially felt in the final part of the film, where the screenwriter strives to complete all the unfinished storylines in the series, and to complete them with a happy ending, sometimes not very realistic and terribly slobbery.
The problem with the movie Downton Abbey is that a person who has not seen a single episode of the original series most likely simply will not understand what is happening here, who all these people are, what unites them and why they react to certain events the way they do. The film feels more like an extended special episode of the series, catering to fans and continuing to tell essentially the same story without any introduction. And in general, the conflict and problems of the film do not deserve a separate film; it is a really good finale of the season, but not an independent story.
However, Downton Abbey is certainly a beautiful film, and meeting your favorite characters, their signature jokes and the well-known interiors of the Abbey will certainly delight those who watched the original series. There are enough effective shots and funny jokes to not get bored throughout the two hours, although it is really hard to stand the treacle of the last fifteen minutes.
With a budget of $13–20 million, Downton Abbey has already grossed almost $187 million worldwide, so the film can be considered a very successful film. And Julian Fellowes is currently working on three television projects at once: The English Game for Netflix, The Gilded Age about New York at the end of the 19th century for HBO, and Belgravia based on his own novel of the same name for ITV. So for the near future we will definitely have enough TV series about the aristocracy.
This film has zero artistic merit on its own, but is a must-see for any fan of the original Downton Abbey series.