The Crawley family return to the big screen and the public consciousness in this follow up to the long running series and sequel to the first film with Downton Abbey: A New Age.
Returning to the beloved upstairs and downstairs characters in 1930s England, everyone seems to be doing well. Tom Branson (Allen Leech) has married Lucy Smith (Tuppence Middleton) after meeting in the first film and with the merging of their two families comes a new surprise. Violet Crawley (Maggie Smith) comes into a villa in the South of France from an old love and from there part of the group decides to learn why this mysterious man bequeathed the villa to their elderly grandmother and uncovering some long-held secrets.
But back at Downton, a new film decides to shoot at the estate, pulling them into the new decade as director Jack Barber (Hugh Dancy) begins a flirtation with Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery). Here the transition of movies from silent films to talkies plays out and the pomp and circumstance of celebrity performers in Downton gets everyone excited.
The interesting thing about Downton Abbey: A New Era is how fun it is. The original series was like a soap opera of the 1910’s and the first film fell flat in translating well to the big screen. Yet in this rendition, the story is fun, the dialogue vibrant and the storyline actually feels alive.
Yes, it’s all fantasy and revisiting the characters feels like warm soup on a cold day. Each time the score plays, the emotions comes again and again. And the secrets revealed are far less depressing or serious than the ones that played out on TV.
If you like Downton Abbey, this new chapter will be for you. It’s a perfect closing chapter for a beloved group of characters and has an ending that some may see coming but delights nonetheless.