Downton Abbey (2019)

Downton Abbey
Director: Michael Engler
Writer: Julian Fellowes
Sequel to: the TV show
Cast: Stephen Campbell Moore, Michael Fox, Lesley Nicol, Sophie McShera, Robert James-Collier, Hugh Bonneville, Allen Leech, Michelle Dockery, Phyllis Logan, Laura Carmichael, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter, Geraldine James, Imelda Staunton, Joanne Froggatt, Maggie Smith, Penelope Wilton, Douglas Reith, Kevin Doyle, Brendan Coyle, Raquel Cassidy, Charlie Watson, David Haig, Mark Addy, Tuppence Middleton, Matthew Goode
Seen on: 15.10.2019

Content Note: homomisia

After the Queen and King announce their visit, all of Downton Abbey is on high alert, trying to prepare as best they can for the royal visit. But with Buckingham Palace staff interfering with the regular Downton Abbey staff, and a possible royal spy coming to check on the family, preparing for the visit may be easier said than done.

I watched the show for a while, but I kind of fell out of the habit after a couple of seasons and then figured, I’d watch the film anyway and damn, it doesn’t work at all. In fact, the only thing it really achieved was making me remove the (rest of the) series permanently from my watchlist.

The film poster showing the noble characters in the top half, and the servants in the bottom half.

Nothing much ever changes in Downton, so I had no problem following the plot, despite never having watched all the episodes of the show (it was the kind of “I’ll get around to it at some point” phasing out of never actually deciding to stop extended break that made me decide to watch the film in the first place. If I had actually quit the show, I wouldn’t have watched the film either). But it was just all too much for me. I don’t know if I could ignore it better in the smaller doeses of a TV episode, or if the film just ramped it up to 11, but I really couldn’t deal with the monarchism and the nobility adoration in this film.

Really, it felt like every two seconds we heard about how awesome the monarchy is and nobility in general, and nothing should ever change about this. Also, Downton is the glue that keeps everything together and without Downton, the simple (read non-noble) people really wouldn’t know what to do with their lives, they would be absolutely senseless. Plus, god save the queen.

Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) dancing with Henry Talbot (Matthew Goode).

The cast is still wonderful – Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton and Penelope Wilton were great and Michelle Dockery and Matthew Goode (way too little in the film) are beautiful and always good to watch. But narratively, the film is a catastrophe: nothing really happens, but also, way too much happens to develop any (sub-)plot properly. And the queer subplot really was just cringeworthy.

In short, watching the film made me turn my lackluster “I’ll probably watch it at some point” into a clear and hard no on the series. That is an achievement in a way, just not what the film set out to do, I’m pretty sure.

Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Tom Branson (Allen Leech) standing outside Downton.

Summarizing: nah.

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