DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA
Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Samantha Bond, Allen Leech, Tuppence Middleton, Hugh Dancy, Imelda Staunton, Maggie Smith, Fifi Hart, Elizabeth McGovern, Laura Carmichael, Harry Hadden-Paton, Penelope Wilton, Jim Carter, Dominic West, Laura Haddock, Sue Johnston, Kevin Doyle, Michael Fox, Robert James-Collier, Phyllis Logan
Director: Simon Curtis
Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) best described Downton Abbey in Iron Man 3: “it’s elegant.” A New Era lives up to that descriptor, as it is an elegant escape with dazzling production and a memorable score. At first, it seems a sophisticated mesh of The Crawleys’ low-stakes ongoings; However, as the storylines come together, the wonderful characters’ warmth, pitch-perfect humor, and lovely performances remind you why you care for such trivial happenings. Whether ardent fan (me, waving vehemently) or newcomer to the opulent relationships between upstairs and down, it’s a comfort movie personified. Also, Dame Maggie Smith… no other words necessary.
Even if one has never seen an episode of the beloved drama series, the Downton Abbey films cast a very charming shadow, though A New Era does leave a bit to be desired. Whereas the previous entry in this saga felt largely clean, polished, and focused, this one comes off a bit choppier in the editing and storytelling. In presenting two threads that have almost nothing in common, save their connections in characters, the film comes off as somewhat unsure of the story it wants to tell. That said, fans of the series will likely enjoy themselves anyway.