When is watching a movie like slipping into a warm bath? When you see familiar characters brought to life once more.
Yes, I admit it… I have a
t least one guilty pleasure. I had resisted for years, but one day, I found myself watching Downton Abbey just to see what all the fuss was about. And wouldn’t you know it, but I was drawn into a full-on binge-watch of all the available episodes on Netflix! This was a while ago, and the final season, I actually watched live.
So, yes, I was looking forward to the movie and went to see it on Thursday September 19. How is it that when there is a Friday release date, it is actually released Thursday? Don’t get it… but anyway… There were only maybe a dozen people in the theatre, which is strange considering the box office results reported by Vanity Fair. I kind of like it that way, though. Almost like a private showing, and room for my snacks and drink in the cup holders on each side.
I arrived in good time, hoping to see some movie previews since I haven’t been to a movie in a while. I suppose they figure, though, that Downton Abbey viewers must be accustomed to TV-style commercials (not sure why since it was broadcast on PBS here) because there were maybe ten of them. And the only preview was for a TV show, Prodigal Son, about serial killers, which is really not for the same audience at all. Oh well.
The Downton Abbey movie is set two years after the end of the series, giving us a chance to catch up on what the characters have been doing since then. The only important ones missing, from my point of view, are Rose Aldridge (Lily James) and Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens), both for logical reasons if you watched the series. The movie starts off slowly, but soon has the target audience wrapped up in the upstairs and downstairs characters once again — this is not really a movie that would make much sense if you didn’t know and love the characters.
The plot is pretty thin, being all about the royal visit of King George V and Queen Mary, but there are some nice subplots. The Downton Abbey staff have some fun getting the better of the royal staff, with my favourite character, Thomas Barrow (below), still up for some devious tricks. And Thomas (Rob James-Collier) has a really nice story line of his own, which allows him to flex his acting muscles, much more than any other actor in the movie. There’s also some intrigue as well as potential happiness for Tom Branson (Allen Leach), which is well overdue.