Julian Fellowes is clearly an avid fan of period pieces. With a career that dates back to his Oscar winning Gosford Park, Fellowes has successfully continued to bring delightful stories from a period of time where folks lived grand, ate well and dressed fabulously. A period we have come to know as Downton Abbey.
Fans of this franchise will be siphoned back into the lives of the British aristocratic Crawley family and their servants with Downtown Abbey: A New Era. This follow-up to the 2019 feature film where the Crawley’s and Downton staff received a royal visit from the King and Queen of Great Britain now find themselves in a new era. A new era having many meanings disguised as weddings, familial duties shifted, LGBTQ love coming out of the closet, an homage to silent film era ala ‘Singing in the Rain’ style, women striking out to be independently self-sufficient and a secret that could make or break this tight knit clan. This chapter taps into an extra side of kitchiness leaving audiences room to giggle at the ridiculousness of it all.
It goes without saying that the costume, production and set design are enhanced by an equally exquisite score and breathtaking cinematography, transporting audiences mind and spirit on a much needed visual vacation away from the UK to shores of Italy.
Most of all, these characters are sent off in style, while impressing lessons regarding marriage being a novel – not a short story, sometimes it’s a mistake to meet your favorite actors and how talkies not only killed silent films, but transformed the industry and some of its stars.
Standouts are Dominic West (Guy) and Laura Haddock (Myrna) as the ill-fated silent film stars who both are seeking acceptance. Guy seeks to live out his post film career out and proud and Myrna struggles to figure out how to use her voice…literally. And, of course, what is Downton without the comedic wryness of the legendary Maggie Smith.
Produced by Focus Features with a running time of 125 minutes, Downton Abbey: A New Era will tug at your heart and have you cheering for the cast all at once. So, have a pack of tissues ready as it hits theaters this weekend.