Four years ago the award-winning period drama Downton Abbey ended, but there’s always been talk of a movie. And lo and behold Lord Julian Fellowes has finally penned one as the huge cast of upstairs and downstairs characters return for another episode. And yes, it’s very much another episode in the vein of one of the Christmas Specials, but so what? It’s warmly welcomed if you’re a fan or casual viewer looking for something warm and cozy.
The Downton Abbey movie is also very funny, leaving you beaming throughout its romantic spectacle.
Of course, Maggie Smith’s Dowager throws out her usual cutting witticisms every time she opens her mouth, but it’s Kevin Doyle’s Mr Molesley who really steals the show when it comes to the humour.
With the former footman constantly embarrassing himself with his over-enthusiasm and giddiness over the King and Queen’s visit.
The rest of the returning cast are as good as ever, however, the film’s biggest problem is the size of the ensemble.
Being only two hours long, rather than a whole TV series, there’s not very much to do for a large number of the characters, with some like Mr Bates and Lady Cora being reduced to merely commenting on events around them.
Even at just over two hours, the Downton Abbey movie feels oddly 20 minutes too long, leaving the stately home for additional scenes a while after it felt like it was all about to wrap up.
Nevertheless, just like the final episode, Lord Fellowes gives hints of romance and moving with the times for some characters that never came to pass in the series – although much of this did already manifest in the trailer so do watch out for spoilers.
Overall, for all its flaws and ridiculous plot points, this cinematic experiment was a welcome, delightful and self-indulgent return to Downton Abbey and hopefully not the last.
Downton Abbey is released in UK cinemas on September 13, 2019.