8/10 I gave 2019’s “Downton Abbey” film a 7/10 as I enjoyed what was a solid follow up to an accomplished show running for six seasons (it seems their “six seasons and a movie” beat “Community” to the punch). While this sequel was slightly delayed due to the China Virus, “Downton Abbey: A New Era” may not be lighting up the box office like the first film did, but this is a stronger entry in the franchise which I found to be funnier and more emotional than the debut film. Much of what worked with both the show and first film continue to impress. The production design, costume design, era appropriate props, pacing, score, cinematography, direction, acting, etc. all continue to be top notch, which we expect at this point but also must pay our respects to all of the hard work that goes into making all of that happen. While this story could have easily ended with the sixth and final season, screenwriter Julian Fellowes (who continues to put out great work into his 70s) found new, more contained stories to tell for these films that instead of feeling forced, felt like a natural progression from the conclusion of the series. While the first film’s plot revolved around royalty visiting Downton Abbey and the ups and downs that resulted from the visit, this plot deals with a film being made at Downton Abbey and a subplot involving an inherited villa in France. The plot actually felt a little more realistic this time around and it made for some surprisingly strong comedy in several moments. Despite the sprawling cast, Fellowes and director Simon Curtis (taking over from Michael Engler, who directed the first film) were able to balance the character development with ease, giving each character something to do and progressing each of them forward and into the future. The newer characters all brought something fun and unique in contributing to the chemistry of the cast. This film is much more emotional than the first and had me in tears in several scenes, with a somber but appropriate ending for the climax. While I have no idea if Fellowes will write a third film to complete a trilogy and end it all there, I do know that if this is the last we see of Downton Abbey, fans should be thankful that it ended on such a high note. While audiences will only want to view this if they are familiar with the show and first film (seeing this if you haven’t experienced either of those would be foolish), if you are looking for a more wholesome and proper British offering, I recommend watching the show and checking out both films which are now two for two.
#DaisyStirringThePot / #ABagshawOfTricks / #TheseVioletDelightsHaveVioletEnds / #DubSteppingUp / #YouCanCountessOnMe / #PatmoreThanMeetsTheEye

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