“The Charm of this film is in its commitment to authenticity, production value and emotion – all of which shine through the screen”
The doors of Downton Abbey are once again open for our enjoyment and whist some are questioning its transition from TV to cinema, most are welcoming the return to a world that depicts quintessential British life. So far, I’ve seen Downton Abbey twice at the cinema and I loved every second. But before I delve deeper into what makes this film a success, I must confess to something: last year I was lucky enough to work on Downton Abbey, something I had always dreamed about! You might think this would make me biased and you could be right but considering how much I loved the original tv series (I was a dedicated viewer – I watched every Sunday night without fail) I went into the cast and crew screening with very high expectations and I was not for one moment disappointed.
Downton Abbey | Focus Features
The transition from the small screen to the big screen is seamless, Downton Abbey with all its glamour and sophistication suits the silver screen. Whilst watching I couldn’t help thinking that Downton Abbey had taken its rightful place on the screen it should have always been intended for – so to all the people arguing that Downton Abbey should have stayed on TV are quite frankly wrong! I certainly hope they make a second movie; the film hints at the possibility. So, What makes this transition so seamless you ask? It is a combination of elements; long swooping shots both exterior and interior of Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle), use of the original soundtrack and the characters we watched and loved for years. These elements pull you back into the sanitised world of Downton Abbey that if full of morals, class and Britishness. Simply put the transition to the cinema was successful because they changed nothing, which makes sense. Why change something that had a proven record of success. If you liked the TV series, then the movie is a must-watch.
Narratively the film is full of dinner parties and small thrills, nothing that shocks but there are a few swoony moments. It picks up two years after the events of the final season in 1927, the King (Simon Jones) and Queen (Geraldine James) are coming to visit Downton Abbey on their tour of the north. Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) along with the staff members, Anna (Joanne Froggatt), Mr Bates (Brendan Coyle), Elsie (Phyllis Logan), Miss. Patmore (Lesley Nicol), Daisy (Sophie McShera) and Andy (Michael C. Fox) step up to the challenge of making the royal stay perfect whilst Carson (Jim Carter) returns replacing Thomas Barrow (Robert James-Collier) as the butler. Tom Branson’s (Allen Leech) loyalty is tested throughout which is reminiscent of his first story arch, but he also gets some happiness with newcomer Lucy Smith (Tuppence Middleton) their final scene is one of the Swoony moments I mentioned. Thomas Barrow I think is treated a little unfairly throughout, but his story does end with a happy moment and if a second movie is made it is likely the narrative will be more in his favour. But the shining star of this film is Violet (Maggie Smith) and her one-liners, I’m so glad they decided not to kill her off before/during this film as she would have left a huge hole.
The Charm of this film is in its commitment to authenticity, production value and emotion – all of which shine through on screen. Visually Downton Abbey is a period genre spectacle, from the costumes to the sets, hair, makeup and real locations, everything is perfect. Having worked on Downton Abbey I can tell you first hand just how much time, money and talent go into creating everything you see on screen, everything you see is real which is rare in movies these days. Most of the costumes were created for this film making them unique, make sure you take in the detail of each when watching because they are stunning. I just want to dress up as Lady Mary and live her life, to be honest. For a film to be successful in my eyes it has to have emotion, I need to leave the cinema having felt something and emotion is at the very centre of Downton Abbey. This film made me laugh multiple times, it made me almost cry and it made me happy. Both times I have left the cinema full of warmth with a smile on my face.
So there you have it! Go and see Downton Abbey, it’s an enchanting film that welcomes us back with warmth and love. It is the perfect combination of social, political and class issues and well mannered demure Britishness. If you don’t believe me when I say that Downton Abbey is meant for the big screen then go see it for yourself before making up your mind because you may well leave the cinema full of warmth and with a smile on your face. Downton Abbey is a pure cinematic spectacle.
Downton Abbey is distributed by Focus Features and is playing in cinemas everywhere NOW!
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Darcie Gray is a new addition to the Future of the Force roster. She is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves almost every genre of movies. Follow her on Twitter @Darcie_Letitia where she channels her passion frequently!