By Alexandra Heilbron on May 18, 2022 | Leave a comment
It seems as if the extremely popular long-running hit couldn’t be topped Downton Abbey Series and the movie that followed it, but creator Julian Fellowes nailed it. Not only has he included each of the characters that fans have come to love, but also in Downton Abbey: A New Eraset in 1928, he has given them two storylines that include adventure, intrigue, mystery and suspense.
A welcome addition to the cast is Hugh Dancy in the role of a film director looking to shoot his latest silent film in Downton. Mary (Michelle Dockery) reluctantly agrees because a lock is expensive to maintain and the amount offered will cover the many repairs Downton needs. Although her father Robert (Hugh Bonneville) doesn’t like the idea of movie people roaming the castle, he agrees the money would be beneficial. However, Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) is outraged and if it were up to him, he wouldn’t let it happen. If you remember, Carson doesn’t work in Downton anymore, but his wife (Phyllis Logan) is afraid this will make her life miserable, so she convinces Mary that Carson should go to France with Robert.
That leads us to the other plot. Violet (Maggie Smith) has received a letter from the lawyer of an old suitor she knew long ago in France. He died and left her a villa in beautiful southern France. She was invited to visit by the man’s son, so she asks Robert, Cora (Elizabeth McGovern), Edith (Laura Carmichael), Bertie (Harry Hadden-Paton), Rosamund (Samantha Bond), Tom (Allen Leech) and his new one bride Lucy (Tuppence Middleton), as well as Lucy’s mother Maud (Imelda Staunton) to go on her behalf.
Needless to say, the silent film encounters myriad problems during filming and Mary gets more involved in the production than she had planned, while the folks in France uncover a secret that’s increasingly worrying Robert.
If you haven’t seen the series and the first film, it can be difficult to keep all of these characters clear, especially what their relationships are to one another. It sometimes took me a moment to remember who certain people were, especially the characters introduced in the first movie or later in the series, although I’ve watched all the episodes and the first movie more than once. Also, Daisy (Sophie McShera) and Andy (Michael Fox) got married sometime between the first and second films!
I absolutely love that everyone had their own story. Barrow (Robert James-Collier) has settled into the role of the butler very well (remember how much trouble he caused in the early seasons?), but he’s a little muted and melancholic here. He doesn’t really mingle with the other downstairs staff, who are excited that movie stars will be coming to Downton, partly because he recognizes the frightening possibility that he may never find love – that all he will ever be in life, one is servant. Cora has health problems, Robert has a different kind of anxiety and Edith decides to go back to writing part-time.
Kevin Doyle as Mr. Molesley had a story that will please his fans immensely, and he earned many laughs when Molesley managed to fit into the film’s production. I was happy to see that Denker (Sue Johnston), Isobel’s former maid (who appeared on the series but not in the first film), now works in Downton and hilariously disapproves of everything and everyone.
Isobel (Penelope Wilton), one of my favorite characters, is seen alongside her husband, Lord Merton (Douglas Reith), although she doesn’t get as many funny lines as in previous projects. But she’s key in the second storyline, which was gratifying. Maggie Smith as Violet gets so many hilarious lines (the audience roared with laughter every time she cracked another joke) that I wondered which of these would become a catchphrase synonymous with “What’s a weekend?” The children – Sybil and Tom’s daughter Sybbie (Fifi Hart), Mary and Matthew’s son George (Oliver and Zac Barton), Edith’s daughter Marigold (Eva and Karina Samms) and Caroline (Bibi and Olive Burr), Mary’s daughter (who dies the spit is). picture of Mary) with her second husband, Henry Talbot, were all included and although Caroline was a new character, the other children are the original actors, all of whom appeared in the series and the first film.
Downton Abbey: A New Era is and was the perfect length at 2 hours and 4 minutes Downton Abbey Fan smiled from the moment Tom’s wedding to Lucy began. I was even more thrilled when we finally got our first glimpse of the beautiful Highclere Castle, which stars as Downton Abbey (another of my favorite characters). I know it’s a building but it’s stunning, beautiful and it’s like seeing an old friend when it comes up on screen).
Downton Fans will want to see this movie more than once. If you haven’t seen the series or the first film yet, there’s still a lot to enjoy in this film, and you’ll probably want to check out the previous projects after you’ve seen it to learn more about all of these incredible and complex characters – and their relationships to one another. ~Alexandra Heilbron
5 out of 5 stars.
Comment below if you are a fan of Downton Abbey and let us know if you will see Downton Abbey: A New Era – or if you’ve already seen it, what you think of it. Also, tell us who your favorite character is and what path you would like to take in this movie or in a future storyline?
If you have already seen Downton Abbey: A New Erayou can click here to leave your own rating and review on the Downton Abbey: A New Era synopsis page.
04/19/2021 | 2 comments
A sequel to Downton Abbey just started filming last week. The original main cast will return for the sequel, which is set to hit theaters on December 22, 2021.
December 21, 2020 | Leave a comment
Check out the new DVD, Blu-ray and streaming shows coming out this week including A Music Lover’s Guide to Murdoch Mysteries hosted by Yannick Bisson.
May 13, 2020 | 1 comment
Kevin McNally tells us about his role in Unforgotten season 3, now streaming on BritBox, and what he’s been working on at home during the pandemic.