Downton Abbey: A New Era
While I had my doubts about this film, I was dead wrong.
Let me say that even if you are not a big fan of “Downton Abbey”, there is a reason why nearly everyone who has seen this movie will smile and say, “I really enjoyed it”. Great acting and a sophisticated script from Julian Fellowes leave you on the brink of tears while repeatedly laughing.
Maggie Smith gives an Oscar worthy performance as the aging dowager Violet Crawley. Taking place in 1928, a movie company wants to use her English estate to make a silent film at the same time that her family learns that she has inherited a large mansion from an unknown deceased man in southern France.
The family splits up to handle both semi-chaotic issues. Ms. Crawley’s son Robert (Hugh Bonneville), his American wife Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) and their butler Carson (Jim Carter) embark to try to confront a widow who wants to hang onto her property in the South of France. I’ll say no more than to tell you that her late husband and Ms. Crawley only met each other in the 1860s. What happened?
Movie problems develop in England. The film’s director, played with style by Hugh Dancy, has to shut down if he can’t make a talking picture. While his leading man (Dominic West) has a great voice, his arrogant leading lady (Laura Haddock) is a disaster. You will love the unfolding story as the Abbey’s supervisor, Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) comes to the rescue.
The film is a sophisticated drama laced with humorous moments. The Abbey’s servants play a major role throughout the film which led to one drawback. The British dialogue was difficult to pick up at times, and I wished the film had subtitles.
Then again, let me admit wearing hearing aids can be a curse in a movie theater!