How to relive the best 52 hours of your life

This review must be prefaced by an acknowledgement of the fact that I am a longtime, hardcore Downton Abbey fan. I know and love all of the characters (even Thomas), already have it on my bucket list to visit Highclere Castle where it was filmed and, spoiler alert, still haven’t quite recovered from the death of Matthew. However, when I heard the movie was coming out, I had very, very low expectations. I read that it was “a fan event” to “celebrate the characters you know and love,” and while I was already planning to see the movie opening weekend, my bar was set extremely low. I did not think it would have any meaningful plot whatsoever and I was nervous that the movie would not do the show justice (I’m looking at you, Disney live action remakes). 

I am happy to report that this was not the case in the slightest.

The melodic music instantly brings you back to the early days of all three Crawley girls at home, putting you into the 1920s-England state of mind, before the world had the internet, microwaves and terrible climate change damage . 

Just like the show, we started at the back of the house, where the magic really begins, watching Mrs. Pattmore and Daisy cook breakfast, Thomas ordering footman around and Andy bringing in a special letter. We then go up those ridiculously steep stairs, and find ourselves inside the grand Downton Abbey we all remember (and wish we lived in).

There is something inexplicably majestic in the ease and mannerisms of Lord and Lady Grantham, Lady Mary and even all of the servants (ignoring their classicist attitudes, racist tendencies and imperialist thoughts). With every outfit change, silver-platter-served treat and sweeping shot of the magnificent English countryside, you are transported to a world of grace and splendor, letting you escape from the stressful realities of today.

Certainly the characters were presented with rather insignificant problems, yet this did not stop me from audibly rooting for them in their quests and conflicts. I laughed, I cried (well almost) and I thoroughly enjoyed myself while watching this movie. Of course, this was only aided by the enthusiastic atmosphere of the theater. People were dressed up in full 1920s attire, reliving the thrill of watching the show and reminiscing in the characters we followed religiously for 6 seasons or approximately 5 years. Although I was one of two people younger than 20 in the theater, I felt right at home. 

Admittedly, it would be hard for a Downton newbie to fully understand what was going on, but I would argue that it would still be an enjoyable movie regardless of the lack of context. Sure you would miss the point of the movie and the numerous throwbacks and inside jokes, but you would still be transported to a different era and you could enjoy it all the same (this is also not the movie’s, you were the one who decided to watch a “fan event” while not being a fan).

Honestly, the only criticism I can present is that I felt some of the new characters were underdeveloped, but given that the other characters had 52 episodes to grow, this is understandable and forgiven easily. The actors did a beautiful job reprising their roles, especially Maggie Smith, the Dowager, and even the child actors did not disappoint. 

Of course, there is one other negative thing: what am I going to do now with the official end of Downton Abbey?

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