I must confess that I am predisposed to like this movie. My late father was British, and I grew up watching "Upstairs, Downstairs" on PBS. My wife, Eileen, loves British shows -- none more so than "Downton Abbey."
If you're enough of a fan to recognize the stately home and familiar theme, then you're going to enjoy the movie based on the TV series. It's a leisurely stroll back in time to 1927 when The King and Queen of England are coming to Downton.
The lord and his lady must mobilize. "Are you excited?" she asks, and he replies, "I am a bit. Would it be common to admit it?" She replies, "not to an American" (which fans know she is). A giggle and a kiss between the couple follow.
The visit causes enough disruption to sustain my interest, mainly because of the magnificent Dame Maggie Smith.
The solution for the turmoil is for Lady Mary to bring Downton's old butler, Carson, out of retirement.
"Won't you help me? I feel I'm pushing a rock uphill," the character played by Michelle Dockery asks the venerable servant. "I'll be there in the morning. Don't you worry," he replies.
Turns out, she needn't have worried because The King and Queen have their own staff and don't intend to use the Downton crew. The monarch's man bristles that he is not a butler but, "The King's Page of The Back Stairs!"
But that doesn't mean the Downton servants have to abide by all of his directives!
The drama at Downton remains at a low boil and there's comfort in that. A flirtation here, a put-down there.
"You have enough clichés to get you through the visit," reassures Maggie Smith's character to a fellow aristocrat. "If not," the lady replies, "I'll come to you!"
Petty differences aside, what's at stake here is a way of life. The degree to which you care is dependent on your opinion of the TV show. The movie is a more lavish version of the PBS series with almost all of the original cast present. If you feel the need to get with them again, you are not going to be disappointed by this big-screen visit back to "Downton Abbey."
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