The leap from television to the big screen does not always leave the series well, but ‘Downton Abbey’ knew how to weather the storm and with honors with its first film. With the pandemic and calendar adjustments, the sequel has been hard to get, but finally this April 29 comes to our movie theaters ‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’.
Renewed or die
‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’ picks up a few months after its predecessor with several surprises for the Crawley family. The first is that Lady Grantham (Maggie Smith) has inherited a villa in the south of France and part of the family decides to travel to the neighboring country to visit the property and try to unravel the mystery behind the strange inheritance.
Meanwhile in Yorkshire things are not so calm, as a film studio has chosen Downton to shoot a film, and despite reluctance among the “old guard”, Lady Mary he decides it’s the kind of opportunity they need so they can renovate the building and get it ready for the new decade.
Although the previous film could be seen as a period drama more apart from the series,** we must warn that this is a full-fledged sequel and that at least it would be necessary to see the first film** to understand where Some characters come out. ‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’ is a movie for fans (very fans) of the series, and if you get to it from scratch, many dynamics and even character backgrounds are not too clear.
Even so, ‘A new era’ works perfectly as a long chapter and manages to balance much better the enormous number of characters with which it has to juggle. Julian Fellowes and director Simon Curtis manage to give everyone their own little plotlines and moments to shine, even if they sometimes go overboard with unnecessary drama that leads to nothing. In particular, the characters that until now have been left as supporting characters finally have more moments on screen or redeem themselves with a happy ending that did not quite fit.
It also wins against its predecessor with the balance of plots and eye, with the very approach of exit of thesealso showing us the intricacies of the filming of the 20s and even leaving us some somewhat meta reference along the way.
Downton Abbey: Saying goodbye to an entire era
The tagline ‘A new era’ is not even painted for the sequel, and makes it very clear to us throughout the film. ‘Downton Abbey’ looks to the future, worrying about leaving the entire Crawley family well-placed and ready for what’s to come.
Once again it reminds us once again that the time of the great houses and closed halls of aristocratic families is ending, and that Downton must catch up if it does not want to perish like so many other palatial mansions. Mary is once again positioned as the central figure at the head of the hacienda, with Michelle Dockery being the perfect heiress for Maggie Smith when it’s time to distribute one of lime and one of sand with “one liners“. Of course, Smith shows once again that he still has a lot of fuse left and completely steals all the scenes he is in (which I wish there were more).
The entire cast is spectacular, although in the end logically the ones that shine the most are Dockery herself, Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael and Jim Carson. Hugh Dancy is a perfect new player in the absence of Matthew Goode’s Henry Talbot, and Dominic West and Laura Haddock they have the perfect presence of the classic movie stars they embody.
Surprisingly, it is also a film full of nostalgia that has its moments to remember the entire history of the series and what the protagonists have lived to get to where they are, including some who have been lost along the way. It is a film that celebrates the best of the series, but also leaves us with a slightly bittersweet aftertaste for the possibility of having reached the end.
‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’ would be a perfect finishing touch for the series if Julian Fellowes and his team decided to leave the story here, with a beautiful tribute to the entire cast and the characters that have made it iconic… and still leaves you wanting more if they decided to continue the story of the Crawleys as before with sporadic films. So now it will be time to cross our fingers to see if we have not reached the end of ‘Downton Abbey’.