The drama and the upstairs/downstairs dynamics of the Crawley family and the staff that calls Downton Abbey their home is coming back to theaters. After six seasons and one successful movie that felt like an extended episode, Downton Abbey: A New Era returns with more glitz and glamour than ever before.
Not only is the Abbey going to be the location for a filming of a silent film, but after the Dowager Countess of Grantham inherits a villa in the French Riveria – the Crawley family is off to check out the new home and to see if it actually belongs to the family after all.
Downton Abbey: A New Era picks up within a year after the last movie ends – Anna has had her baby and the familiar cast members are all moving on with their lives. It’s a natural progression of time, and it’s nice to see the familiar faces. But, of course, the story won’t be as simple as that. With the movie being filmed at the Abbey, there’s a whole new dynamic tossed into the mix and the staff are learning that sometimes it’s better to not meet their idols, while still trying to do their jobs.
But something seems different about this movie from the last. A New Era does come in at just over an hour, but it is packed so tightly with storylines it feels like it’s going to burst. Fans can expect the transition from the upper-class living of the Crawley family to the downstairs and village life of their staff, but the first quarter of the movie jumps back and forth so quickly it seems a bit choppy and the movie doesn’t flow well. It’s not that viewers won’t want to know what’s happening with everyone and the characters they’ve had years to fall in love with, but the cuts seemed short, quick, and almost too abrasive at times.
Overall, that may be one of the big problems with A New Era – there’s just too much information packed into this movie. Normally, I’d be one of the first people to complain about a bloated timeline – but the movie just needed more time or something to help finish the stories. And that’s exactly what they’re trying to do with this installment in the Downton Abbey storyline – finish the stories. They seemed so focused on giving every member of the cast an ending to their own storyline – that it pushed the movie to the extremes and the overarching stories seem a bit lost in the midst. Probably one of the only ways you could do justice to each character, and include two new storylines would be to create another season of the series.
With all that being said, although the need for 30 storyline endings may have taken a bit of the glimmer off the story overall – Downton Abbey: A New Era still is a movie fans of the franchise will love. And the fact that there are no questions as to where the characters are going and what is next in each storyline. It seemed like overall, they tried to give fans the satisfaction of knowing where their favorite characters were going, and if they truly get their happy ending or not. There are a couple of exceptions to this, of course, but they leave very little open for speculation. The movie, at it’s core, was created for the fans who have loved the series for the last twelve years.
While it is not completely needed to enjoy the movie, going into seeing Downton Abbey: A New Era, you should have at least seen the first movie. The six seasons of the show are currently streaming on Netflix, but are slated to be removed on May 31st. While this may not give you time to catch up on the show completely, it may give you a better understanding of the characters before seeing the new movie. But even if you don’t have time to see the first movie or the series before heading into Downton Abbey: A New Era – you’ll be swept away in the life of glitz and glamour of the Crawley family and their spectacular home.
Downton Abbey: A New Era will be in theaters on May 20th.
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About Downton Abbey: A New Era
From award-winning creator Julian Fellowes comes the motion picture event DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA. The much-anticipated cinematic return of the global phenomenon reunites the beloved cast as they go on a grand journey to the South of France to uncover the mystery of the Dowager Countess’ newly inherited villa.
Starring Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Kevin Doyle, Joanne Froggatt, Harry Hadden-Patonm Robert James-Collier, Allen Leech, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Sophie McShera, Tuppence Middleton, Lesly Nicol, Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton, Penelope Wilton, Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye, Dominic West, and Jonathan Zaccaï.
Directed by Simon Curtis.