'Downton Abbey' review: A delight not just for loyal fans but new viewers too
The smartly-written screenplay has witty banter, and also addresses vital issues of the time.
The year is 1927, and the Crawleys have just received word that the King and Queen of England will visit Downton Abbey as part of a royal tour of the country. And so we are off. This announcement from Buckingham Palace sets the household abuzz. As with the show, the film also focusses primarily on the social politics, constructs and anxieties of a household and community. It looks at how society has evolved over time, and the many ways it has remained the same.
The film obviously builds on the franchise’s name, and there are several references an old-time fan would delight in, but even newcomers would find themselves drawn in, thanks to a smartly written screenplay that not only has witty banter, but also addresses other vital issues of the time, like homosexuality and women’s rights. Most of these sub-plots are addressed in the film itself, but there are enough enticing open threads that could potentially pave the way for subsequent sequels.
The cast members too hold up their end of the bargain. Maggie Smith is delightful as the matriarch Crawley, the years she spent away from the character haven’t dulled her wit one bit. Maud Bagshaw (Imelda Staunton) is also a solid presence every time she’s on screen.