Downton Abbey 1.0 stars

Downton Abbey movie poster

Early on in this upstairs-downstairs story built around the King and Queen of England’s overnight visit to the titular country estate, a kitchen girl tells a footman to get the soufflés upstairs before they collapse. A soufflé is a light and airy confection of unvaryingly smooth consistency, and so is director Michael Engler’s movie. A bossy butler, a would-be assassin, a contested inheritance, a suspected traitor, a jealous lover, a snooty chef, a blackmailed thief, a persecuted homosexual, a swooning royalist, a dying soul, a slighted staff, a neglected mother-to-be, an exhausted aristocrat, a secret child, a failing marriage, an ambitious servant, and on and on — everything whipped into a perfect, bland uniformity. Nothing matters more than anything else, which is fine, you see, because it’s all just to serve the overarching, ostensibly palatable point: time is marching on, the world as these old-fashioned, class-bound people know it (and made it) is ending, and isn’t that just fine? Well, maybe not just yet — that would call for a reckoning and maybe even some drama — but the writing is on the wall, so let’s keep on dancing as the soundtrack swells over the onscreen orchestra and the story presses on past an ideal ending to something far more prosaic. But oh, Dame Maggie Smith’s costumes! 2019.

Matthew Lickona

This movie is not currently in theaters.


SalULloyd Sept. 20, 2019 @ 3:17 p.m.

It's the "persecuted homosexual" that seems intriguing to me!

All around, this just seems way too stuffy, Lick.


rosijoni Sept. 21, 2019 @ 10:15 p.m.

Oh, "bah humbug." This was a delightful confection, sweet and sour and everything inbetween. Best of all, it seemed to end with a promise that there are many chapters still to be written in this story. (and sequels!) How, I don't know, with 1929 looming and the stock market crash, but that's for the writers to figure out and I'm sure they will! The audience we saw it with loved it, laughed, applauded and so I'd say the author of this review is in the minority.


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