A satisfying love letter to the fans of Downtown Abbey
It's no secret that I'm fascinated with everything that has to do with royalty and nobility so it was natural for me to gravitate towards Downton Abbey and its characters. While I've been a fan since it first premiered, the concept of Downton Abbey as a movie did not appeal to me. It felt like it didn't need to leave the tried and tested platform that is TV—we've all been privy to big-budget, highly-marketable films that turned into, ironically, big flops. Hence, with any TV-to-big -screen adaptation, expectations should be managed or completely thrown out the window—which is exactly what I did before I stepped into the cinema.
Set two years after the series ended, the movie opens with the arrival of a letter that sets the movie's plot into motion. It announces that the King and Queen of England will be visiting Downton Abbey for a time. This, in turn, creates a chain reaction throughout the whole house and sets off a wonderful juicy atmosphere with so much potential for drama and mishap. Unsurprisingly, one of the best comedic scenes in the movie comes from the tug of war between the Royal staff and the Downton Abbey servants. This, I believe, is one of Downtown‘s shining jewels: concocting absurd yet believable problems that ordinary people almost never experience and showing these problems in a relatable light with the help of characters we either love or hate (although at this point, I love all them equally).
Out of this whole ensemble of personalities, Dame Maggie Smith is the icing on the cake. Her perfectly timed insults are still as hard hitting and witty three years after Downton Abbey‘s end. Mary is still, well…Mary, but that's not a bad thing. Overall, the ensemble cast reminds us why they lasted six long years on television. Their chemistry in delivering lines and acting out nuances in their characters makes the movie such a pleasure to watch, not to mention the subtle looks here and there that add to the overall comedic effect of the film.
Despite these praises though, Downton Abbey skips over a few unexplainable plot holes; a few scenes felt like they were added just for dramatic effect and in the end felt forced. The movie also had the tendency to switch from one character to the next at sometimes too fast a pace that it was hard to keep track of which plot was happening and to which character.
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While it definitely has its flaws, Downton Abbey still felt like a love letter to its fans. Getting to see our favorite characters' futures fleshed out beyond what was in the series finale is more than what most fandoms get from their respective end-of-seasons. It was also wonderful to see certain characters finally get a tiny shot at happiness. So, even if you do take my advice and throw your expectations out the window, you can be sure that watching the film will feel like meeting a dear old friend.
Downton Abbey is already showing at Ayala Malls Cinemas-Greenbelt3, Trinoma, The 30th, Bonifacio High Street and Alabang Town Center.
Art Alexandra Lara