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Downton Abbey: A New Era Review | Movie

The Crawley family set sail for southern France after the widowed Countess (Maggie Smith) came into possession of a villa on the Côte d’Azur. Meanwhile, Hollywood is coming to Downton as a new ‘cinematographer’ begins filming on the family estate – much to the disgust of Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville).

No matter how much you detest its cricket bat’s subtlety, raucous classicism, and wildly condescending portraits of the working class, there is something inherent, undeniably charming about Julian Fellowes’ fabulously disguised aristocorn. In part, one can assume, because its furious preoccupation with titles, formal attire, and the right way to hold a salad fork, makes it feel as much like a fantasy as The Witcher Only with vampires and revenants replaced by inappropriate horrors.

The series’ second big-screen affair sets itself as A Very Downton Holiday, starring Lord Grantham, Lady Crawley (Elizabeth McGovern), Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) and various family members, including newlyweds Tom (Allen Leech) and Lucy (Tuppence) Middleton). , packing their suitcases to go to France with an eternally schooled Mr Carson (Jim Carter). Their goal? To discover the mysterious origins of their new holiday home, rooted as it is in the widower’s youth. Home again is taken leaky and the convent needs repairs, forcing the family to allow a procession of terrible (but well-paying) ‘kinema’ people through the doors to record a movie, much to the delight of the servants and the family’s eye-rolling astonishment.

Downton Abbey: A New Era

With such a large cast, Fellowes has a lot to say, yet he serves more than enough courses to keep everyone happy, balances the whole affair with practiced ease and lets almost all characters enjoy their moment in the sun (sometimes literally)) . After 12 years, Fellowes knows exactly what his audience wants, giving Mr. Carson ample opportunity to lecture continental servants on the right way to dress (“They are very French, the French, right?”), Daisy to get starry eyes on the arrival of Laura Haddock’s beautiful head lady (who turns out to be terribly rude and – even worse – daunting plain), Lady Mary to enjoy a little coziness with Hugh Dancy’s cheeky director, and Maggie Smith’s delightfully shaved Violet to deliver a series of withering barbs (“Ms. Dalglish has all the charm of a veracca.”)

As a cornerstone of the series, it is as perfectly pitched a rejection as one could ever wish for.

As a film, this is a usably staged and steadfastly staged period melodrama; as a cornerstone of the series, it is as perfectly pitched a rejection as one could ever wish for. There are creepy Hollywood types, Brits abroad, the tinge of scandal and a bittersweet coda that manages to break down the barriers between upstairs and downstairs so perfectly that it is almost certain to melt the ice around even the most Marxist hearts.

Whether this should be Crawleys’ last engagement is still unknown, but it’s hard to imagine a more perfect note to end the series on. With a loving, rude sentimental broadcast that sees the family heading into the 1930s “with their heads held high”, this really feels like the end of an era.

It may be soapy, but for those who have released it with Crawleys since the beginning, this is a loving, escapist hug of a movie – like being wrapped in a napkin.

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