Believe it or not, I have not seen one scene of the popular television series ‘Downton Abbey,’ and it’s mostly because of commitment. I am late to the game, and I am also anal retentive, because I would want to see the show from the very beginning, and right now six seasons are lined up on my Amazon prime queue. But everyone I have spoken to has said it doesn’t matter, the film stands one its own, and you will love and be enchanted by it. So I said sure, why not, I have my trusty AMC A-List and since it would be ‘free,’ I can spar one hundred twenty minutes of my life for it (it was slim pickings over the weekend anyway)
My verdict? This is strictly for fans of the series. They give a brief summary in the beginning for most (all?) of the characters, but it’s a bit too much for a novice like me (it just made me wish I watched the series myself) The plot and premise of the movie seems pretty slight. Basically, King George V and Queen Mary have sent work that they will be visiting Downton Abbey, and the film just revolves around how everyone prepares for the visit. That’s it. But of course, they navigate through all the protocols and the politics of emotions from every single character connected, and some of those can be choppy waters. To be honest, some of them mostly went over my head, and I couldn’t relate to the audience laughing or sighing along. But yeah, I could appreciate Dame Maggie Smith lording over everyone as the main matriarch of the brood, and revel in her sparring with the family. And there are romances initiated, and even commentary on gay life in the 20s. I just chuckle at the difference between British and American life – if this was an American film, surely the current staff of a house would just give reign to people who want to take over service. But for the British, it is prestige and honor to cater to royalty.
I liked this enough, but it just made me want to watch the television series more than ever.