DOWNTON ABBEY – A Love Letter to Fans

It was such a joy to return to the abbey on the weekend. As a massive fan of DOWNTON ABBEY I was in heaven knowing there was a movie coming out. My mum actually got me onto it and sadly she couldn’t make the Sydney trip but one of my longest friends, Kell, also a die-hard fan, drove down from the Central Coast to join me on the red carpet wearing our Sunday best. There is sadly no collective noun for DOWNTON ABBEY fans so I am going with Downtonians or Abbeyists? Thoughts? OK – you get my level of excitement for this show!

DOWNTON ABBEY releases tomorrow Thursday Sept 12 in Australia from the amazing folks at Universal Pictures Australia. It is rated PG and runs for 122mins, although I would have been happier with a 6hr movie or another season :). Huge thanks to Universal for the honour of being there for the premiere – it warmed my heart and I had trouble containing the emotions of joining the household again.

BY JASON KING

DOWNTON ABBEY SYNOPSIS:

The synopsis is actually nothing special – we simply return to the abbey for a royal visit. The royal visit from the King and Queen of England will unleash scandal, romance and intrigue that will leave the future of Downton hanging in the balance. It feels like another weekly episode but looks much grander on the big screen.

A LOVE LETTER TO FANS AND THE FAREWELL WE DESERVED:

If you haven’t seen the TV show the DOWNTON ABBEY movie is going to be a huge struggle for you. This is purely a love letter to the fans, a return to the Crawley family and their circles and a chance for the fans to receive the fond farewell that we deserved all along. The second you hear that music you can hear the fans take in a collective gasp of joy.

We slip back into an extended weekly TV storyline that just allows us to catch up with every single character that is still alive that we love and adore. Obviously there is a lot of characters and the screen time will be quite short for some of your old faves but you get some time with everyone to see where they are now and how they fit into the household at this point in time.

WE NEED MORE NOW:

While the DOWNTON ABBEY movie will make fans incredibly excited to be back with the Crawleys it has one downside. For me it was like being a recovering heroin addict. I have been clean for three years and now Universal has dished out some of the good stuff and I am hooked again. I am going to watch the entire series again and am in need of an annual Christmas catch up with the Crawleys please.

What makes Downton so appealing? It’s like an entire fantasy world living under one roof. A fantasy of aristocracy where there is a clearly defined level to status and the Crawley’s are up near the top. But in the household staff of many there is also a clearly distinguished place for everyone. And as the Crawley’s are such wonderful people the staff mostly love being there, regardless of their station. In the TV show it was all pomp and grace but it was brutal and people died in every season and the backstabbing made the show border on telenovela level but my god it looked stunning. It is like Game of Thrones meets the aristocracy of Great Britain.

And as the entire show is about elegance, class, and levels of station it is inevitable the movie takes the Crawleys and Co. to the highest station – hosting the King and Queen of England at Downton.

I JUST ADORE THIS CAST:

There is so many cast members that it would be near impossible in one post to talk about all of them. But the amazing writers of the TV show make the most hated characters redeemed in future seasons and people you love and hate you may one day hate and love. There is a clear standout in both the Downton TV show and movie and that will always go to the serpent-tongued Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham played by Maggie Smith. She steals every scene in the TV show and the movie and this time it is even better as her counterpart in this is none other than Imelda Staunton as Lady Bagshaw. And what makes this dueling duo so wonderful? It’s a Harry Potter reunion of Professor Minerva McGonagall going head to head with the most hated of all the HP characters, Dolores Umbridge.

Tom Branson (Allen Leech) has a great part in this movie and it is good to see him find happiness again. Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery) has always been a favourite character and just seeing her be her was enough for me. And as much as I have hated Thomas Barrow (Robert James-Collier) over a lot of the seasons his well being has always been important and I did like his story develop in a good way.

It was wonderful having Jim Carter back as Carson but the way they put him back into the household wasn’t ideal and his character has definitely mellowed over the years as he would never have allowed the staff to what they did. No spoilers :).

IN CONCLUSION:

I could rave and rave and rave about one of my all time favourite TV shows that is now a movie but will end with some trivia about Downton Abbey. The real estate that “plays” Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle, has been the home of the Herbert family since 1679. In 1922, George Herbert, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, co-discovered the Tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun. How cool is that?!

YOUR CRITIC:

Jason King owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. A movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict he is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the Australian movie industry for 26yrs. 

He believes all it takes to make a good movie is a bloody good story, with a little luck the rest should fall in line. He is getting a little sick of saying “story story story” in his reviews with so much shite releasing in the last decade. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.