(2019) 122 mins
The saga continues, in a stand-alone story that doesn’t require you to have seen the TV series.
The plot features King George V (Simon Jones) and Queen Mary (Geraldine James) breaking from their “1927 tour of Yorkshire” for a two-day stay at Downton. Cue mayhem and downstairs panic, especially when the royal household, led by David Haig’s imperious Wilson, a page of the backstairs, takes control of the servants’ quarters.
Along the way there’s an intriguing anti-monarchist subplot featuring a smuggled revolver, an assassination plan and an intense army captain played by Stephen Campbell Moore. However, this is not, obviously, The Day of the Jackal, so all high-stakes tension is quickly neutralised by a gentlemanly wrestle and the action end of Lady Mary’s two-tone leather pumps.
Dockery, like most of the cast, wears the role with ease, although her accent, which became more clipped and mannered as the series went on, has now finally metastasised into full Pathé News announcer. “You’re a trez-ah Carson,” she coos to her favourite household butler. “And that’s awl I hev to see on the mettah!”
As ever, there are plenty of bon mots from Maggie Smith!
The Times: "Smith, flawless as usual, is the film’s soul. Self-aware without once being self-mocking, she is judiciously used throughout, appearing every seven or eight minutes to enliven proceedings with a delicious blast of drollery." (4 stars)
Entertainment Weekly: "But nothing in creator Julian Fellowes’ script ever strays too far from its genteel comfort zone; solving problems in Downton-world is like unknotting a tangled necklace: There may be difficulties, but rest assured that by the 122-minute mark, as above, so below; all will be right and dreamy with the Abbey"
The Guardian: "It is at all times ridiculous – but, I have to admit, quite enjoyable." (3 stars)