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Delightful ‘Downton Abbey’ Makes Royally Entertaining Big-Screen Debut

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Spoilers for the television series ahead.

“Downton Abbey” devotees will be delighted by the big-screen debut of the British television series that made post-Edwardian elegance so entertainingly irresistible for six seasons.

The show was already sumptuously produced, and its original cast members return to many previously seen settings, so the movie essentially is what Maugham might call “the mixture as before.” Also, only one year has passed at Downton even though four have gone by for us, so there’s no big “Avengers: Endgame”-style time jump. (Incredibly, that’s only the first of two Marvel references in this review—which either says something about the current state of the movie industry, or about Yours Truly.)

Set in 1927, the film opens with a royal missive being transported by train, mail truck, and motorbike from London to Yorkshire. It eventually makes its way to onetime scoundrel but now head butler Thomas Barrow (Robert James-Collier), who attained that position in the series finale. It seems that portly and placid King George V (onetime galactic hitchhiker Simon Jones) and Queen Mary (Geraldine James) will be stopping at Downton for a royal luncheon, parade, and dinner, necessitating all manner of frenzied preparations.

When Barrow seems not quite up to the task, no-nonsense Lady Mary (the wonderfully waspish Michelle Dockery) entreats resolutely dignified former butler Carson (Jim Carter) to come out of retirement. Fortunately, time off seems to have been good for the previously incapacitated Carson. We see zero evidence of the palsy that made him give up his position during the series, where other characters similarly managed to overcome setbacks including paralysis, blindness, cancer,........

© The Federalist