‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’ review: A fine way to catch up with old friends

Long-time fans would greet the well loved characters and the Dowager Countess’ biting commentary on the new fangled developments in the modern world with happy hugs

Updated - June 08, 2022 05:30 pm IST

Published - June 08, 2022 01:15 pm IST

A still from ‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’

A still from ‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’ | Photo Credit: Ben Blackall

While the world falls apart, the Crawleys are puttering along smoothly in a flurry of flapper fashions, balls, and lovely automobiles. There is a film being shot and a bungalow in the South of France mysteriously left to the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith). The Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) has a worry, there is a health scare for his wife Cora (Elizabeth McGovern), while his sister Lady Rosamund (Samantha Bond) sails along dropping bon mots en route.

The eldest Crawley daughter, Mary’s (Michelle Dockery) husband continues to race in exotic places leaving her susceptible to the charms of the film director Jack Barber (Hugh Dancy). The other Crawley girl Edith (Laura Carmichael) has finally found contentment in writing and marriage to Bertie Pelham (Harry Hadden-Paton).

Tom (Allen Leech) widower to the third Crawley, Sybil, has a second chance of love with Lucy (Tuppence Middleton). Lucy’s mum, Lady Bagshaw (Imelda Staunton) is happy for her daughter. Isobel (Penelope Wilton) is happily married to Lord Merton (Douglas Reith) and continues to spar with Lady Violet. In fact we see all the returning cast of the Julian Fellowes’ gorgeous show, Downton Abbey, which ran for six seasons and the 2019 movie, in a series of photographs taken at Tom and Lucy’s wedding.

Downstairs, Carson (Jim Carter) is crusty as ever, much to his wife, Elsie’s (Phyllis Logan) rueful amusement, Bates (Brendan Coyle) and Anna (Joanne Froggatt) are as gently in love, and Mosley (Kevin Doyle) is teaching at the local school but has dreams of a life with Phyllis (Raquel Cassidy).

Daisy (Sophie McShera) and Andy (Michael C. Fox) are trying to find a space for themselves which is also what the conflicted, Barrow (Robert James-Collier) is seeking. Will Mrs Patmore (Lesley Nicol) and Mason (Paul Copley) get together to give the newlyweds much needed space to grow?

When the film company offer an obscene sum of money to shoot a silent film, The Gambler, in Downton Abbey, checking out the fabulous villa in the south of France, offers a way out for some of the Crawleys.

Downton Abbey: A New Era
Director: Simon Curtis
Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Phyllis Logan
Storyline: The Crawleys’ life in 1928 is marked with a long ago love, a wedding, a baby, a film shooting, a bungalow and a funeral
Run time: 125 minutes

New cast members include the suspicious widow, Montmirail (Nathalie Baye) who wonders why her husband left the fabulous villa to an Englishwoman. Her son, the Marquis de Montmirail, (Jonathan Zaccaï) however, has what he believes to be a strong reason to welcome the Earl of Grantham to the family.

At Downton, while some of the staff is in a tizzy about serving film stars and watching a film being made, the star Myrna Dalgleish (Laura Haddock) who is as rude as she is beautiful, shatters their dreams. Guy Dexter, (Dominic West) however, makes up for his co-star’s bad manners with sacks of charm.

While the movie might be a little difficult for newbies to get, long-time fans would greet the well loved characters and the Dowager Countess’ biting commentary on the new fangled developments in the modern world with happy hugs. The newbies, if of a filmic bent of mind, can marvel at the switch from silent movies to the talkies. That proposal on the open microphone was just so lovely!

Downton Abbey: A New Era, is a fine way to catch up with old friends in the lovely, warm glow of 1928, when the old war is far back enough and the terrible, new war is too remote to cause any disquiet.

Downton Abbey: A New Era is currently running in theatres

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