Downton Abbey: A New Era, the sequel to the 2019 hit film based on the long running beloved BBC series, is in theaters now and we already saw it! The Spill the aTx team got to view a sneak of the film so that we could spill the tea on whether it’s worth a watch. Spoiler alert – it is!
For those who may not know what Downton Abbey is, it is a snapshot of aristocrat life in early 20th century England, focusing on what happens both upstairs and downstairs. If you haven’t had a chance to see the series, the film does a good a job of providing enough information for you understand the story and follow along. There’s also a quick recap at the beginning of the film, which is helpful even for those who are familiar – because if you are like me, you completely forgot what happens in the last film.
In this new installment, the original characters are back to solve the mystery of a villa that has been left to matriarch Violet (played by Maggie Smith). Additionally, the Abbey has been hired to be the set of a silent film production, much to both the dismay and delight of staff and family members.
Downton Abbey: A New Era Film Review
The two plots start off slow but then progress to intriguing affairs that involves the entire cast. Some characters get more screen time than others, but they all get some type of spotlight that makes them shine, even if it’s just for a moment of humor or heart. This is a distinguished accomplishment for a cast of this size, so kudos to the writers for that!
There were quite a few humorous scenes that were welcomed with audible chuckles from the audience. This includes expected sassy one-liners from the matriarch herself. There are also quite a few statements regarding change as well as the influx of the Hollywood scene due to the filming at the Abbey. These statements felt just as relevant in today’s world – some things never change.
As usual, the crew nailed the costumes, sets and dialogue for the time period, and the cast additions (including Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddick and Dominic West) enhanced the experience. Though, we’re still disappointed that Matthew Goode didn’t make even one appearance (that’s a major plot hole, but whatever).
The film ends in a way that ties up loose ends so that this may be the series finale or, perhaps this will start a completely new story for some of the younger family members. We could even imagine a spin-off featuring a couple of loveable staffers.
A New Era is more satisfying than its big screen predecessor and it should go without saying that if you are a huge Downton Abbey you are going to coming out of the theater satisfied with one more visit with the Crawleys. And if your not, you’ll still enjoy this film – if you’re into Masterpiece style period pieces, that is.
This review was written with the assistance of Allison Moujaes.