Downton Abbey A New Era movie review: No downturns here

Downton Abbey A New Era movie director: Simon Curtis
Downton Abbey A New Era movie cast: Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, Hugh Dancy, Dominic West, Laura Haddock, Jim Carter, Elizabeth McGovern, Laura Carmichael
Downton Abbey A New Era movie rating: 2 stars

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose. Pardon the French, but this re-dip into the pastoral, pastel palimpsest of the English manor born might promise A New Era, via Hollywood and the South of France, but nothing really changes for the Granthams.
Well, one thing does. A villa on the French Riviera drops into their laps, just the kind of gifts rich people pass on to other rich people, even if the acquaintance lasted all of one “idyllic interlude” 60 years ago.

That kicks off one aspect of the so-called ‘New Era’, with a lot of tepid (never heated) speculation about why Lady Violet Grantham would be the recipient of such devoted attention from a French Marquis she briefly met. It’s exactly what you are thinking.

The other aspect relates to the Granthams welcoming into their stately Downton Abbey a film crew for a month as they are so hard-pressed for money that they can’t repair a leaking attic. On all other matters, presumably, there is no requirement for tightening of the purse strings – no one handles money, not even a purse, so one can’t be sure.

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The films themselves are entering a new era as the talkies are barging their way in. The silent movie that Barber (Dancy) is shooting at Downton comes almost to a halt as a result, till Lady Mary (Dockery) comes up with a solution that can’t be as easy as it sounds: why not just start recording dialogue? This upends the film’s silent superstars Dexter (West) and Dalgleish (Haddock), who have never done a talkie before. While Dexter quickly finds his feet, given his British origins, Dalgleish is out of sorts with her American accent, and hence in comes Mary again.

Daisy Mason in Downton Abbey: A New Era. (Photo: Universal Pictures)

There are some minor traumas to be overcome; some desires to be tamped down; some unions to be made; some others to be only whispered about; servants to be petted, kept happy and, briefly, have a taste of the Upstairs; and one wedding and a funeral to bring out the cutlery for.

But, in the end, no downturns here. It’s always sunny in Downton.


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