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Westside Steve

Downton Abbey review

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Downton Abbey
BBC
PG                   123

Oftentimes  popular TV series will find themselves popping up on the Silver Screen after they’ve run their course. In some cases, for example FIREFLY, it’s because the series came to an untimely end and the motion picture is kind of a way to give the viewers closure. Sometimes it’s simply because that series was so popular that the fans just long for a little bit more. I think that’s the case with DOWNTON ABBEY. Loyal viewership for the television series, spin a six seasons and 52 episodes, was easily in the tens of Millions and doubtless those will be the core audience for this surprising theatrical hit.*
The early twentieth century was something of a watershed era for the British Monarchy and that’s the time period in which the series was set. On the surface one might have guessed, incorrectly, that the series centered on members of the aristocracy the royals the lord’s the ladies etc. but you would only be partially correct. The main focus has been the servants, the butlers, the  valets, the cooks, the  footmen, gardeners, chauffeurs and on down the line.  It would be impossible to list the subplot between all of these characters over the six years on television but aficionado can rest assure that the motion picture version full feature many of them. Many times popular TV series are left with unsatisfactory endings for one reason or another but not this one so this version is less a point of closure than a reunion of our favorite characters. 
So  the producers needed to come up with some situations in need of resolve, hoping to make the film a stand-alone project and not just a trip down memory lane. I’m not sure that quite works in the situation as we have had years to learn the personalities of the characters and it’s with that Foundation the film must begin. That’s fine, because I’d be willing to bet that 99% of the viewers are going to be from that stalwart group of fans.
The situation is that the queen is going to stay overnight at the Downton Abbey on the way to some other state event and the staff is nearly overwhelmed by excitement over this great honor. That is until they find out that the royals have brought their own people who will usurp their responsibilities almost entirely. Embroiled in controversy over his alternate lifestyle Mr. Barrow has been set aside mostly so that the writers can bring Mr. Carson back for this story. Other events include the question of the dowager’s inheritance and Tom the chauffeur reconciling his loyalty to his adopted aristocratic family and his Irish rebel roots. All of which is set over a backdrop of the final days, relatively, of the British aristocracy.  Since none of these situations were really inherit to the ending of the TV series I won’t spoil the endings for you now. In this column I’ve occasionally mentioned some Netflix or Amazon Prime offerings and Downton Abbey is certainly one I would recommend wholeheartedly. If you are already on the bus you will doubtlessly love this film. If not, I heard you to take a chance, I can almost guarantee you will be hooked.
A
WSS
* The manager at the Interstate Park Regal Cinemas tells me that that a new release of the same film includes a 9-minute recounting of the series just for those unfamiliar with the BBC series. 

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Good review to which I would only add as a hubby dragged into the PBS phenom that was DA...

... seeing the movie was like getting back together with old friends.

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6 hours ago, Tour2ma said:

Good review to which I would only add as a hubby dragged into the PBS phenom that was DA...

... seeing the movie was like getting back together with old friends.

Good summary.

WSS

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