One of my favorite TV series was Downton Abbey, which is more recent as it only ended a few years ago. But luckily, they decided to make a movie. And not just any movie, a real movie for the silver-screen instead of one made just for television. I was expecting a lackluster audience showing, given that the TV series wasn’t as popular in the United States as many others, but boy was I wrong. It’s on the top of the box office this weekend, and even seeing the movie at 10:30 on a Tuesday morning, I was lucky to get a good seat.
The movie begins several years after the end of the series. Thomas Barrow is still the head butler, and most of the Downton Abbey staff have remained unchanged. But a very grand letter arrives in the mail, and it’s not just any old piece of postage. It’s a letter from the royal family of Great Britain, King George V and his wife Queen Mary of Teck will be staying at the estate for just a single night as they travel in the country.
While the Crawleys aren’t really strangers to the British royal family, they don’t get to see them often. And this may be the first time they’re actual guests of Downton Abbey. The noble family is more worried over their cousin Maud Bagshaw attending, as she works closely under the Queen. Granny Violet had a falling out with her over the choice of her next heir (which would seem to be Robert) and it’s not going to be a friendly reunion, most likely.
But things start to go wrong as soon as the King and Queen of Great Britain arrive. While it’s not uncommon for a nobleman’s staff to come with him on visits to other estates, the royal family sends enough staff to replace everyone at Downton Abbey. The King’s butler and his cook are so snooty and unlikable that it doesn’t take long for the downstairs staff to come up with a plan. They’re going to serve the royals, one way or another.
I really enjoyed this new Downton Abbey story, and I hope they give us at least one more before all the actors and actresses are either too old or don’t want to do the story anymore. The TV episodes often felt like their own mini-movies (maybe not as much as Sherlock) and this movie feels like a really long episode. Which isn’t a bad thing, because Downton Abbey was such high-class entertainment and much unlike most other shows on TV. Luckily most of the same people (actors, writers, and producers) are behind the movie, so it doesn’t lose any of its magic or charm.