“Downton Abbey: a new era”: on familiar (nostalgic) ground

Fans of what must now be called a franchise will appreciate.

“Downton Abbey: a new era”: on familiar (nostalgic) ground

Fans of what must now be called a franchise will appreciate.

• Read also: Five things to know about “Downton Abbey: a new era”

With this second feature film, Julian Fellows, screenwriter and creator of "Downton Abbey" and director Simon Curtis bring the Granthams back to life for one summer, that of 1928.

After the marriage of Lucy (Tuppence Middleton) to Tom Branson (Allen Leech), two announcements disturb the tranquility of the masters of Downton.

First, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, Violet (Maggie Smith) receives startling news. One of his old French friends bequeathed him a sumptuous villa on the Côte d'Azur, the famous Riviera so much praised by rich foreigners. It doesn't take much for the Earl of Grantham, Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville), his wife Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) and a few other family members to cross the Channel to visit the property and try to find out more. on the reasons for this surprising heritage.

At Downton, Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) agrees to a silent film being shot on the property and all the residents see the arrival of director Jack Barber (Hugh Dancy), actor Guy Dexter (Dominic West) and actress Myrna Dalgleish (Laura Haddock).

Like the first feature film, this “Downton Abbey: A New Era” feels like a special episode of the popular series. With its plots simplified to the extreme, even in some cases convoluted (in particular the kind of attraction between Lady Mary and the filmmaker or the fact that Guy Dexter is gay), this film does not manage to extract itself from its past. television. In addition, the 125-minute cinematic format prevents nuance (especially in the case of the French plot in which Nathalie Baye plays a marquise) as well as the development of substantial sub-plots among the domestic staff, only the character of Joseph Molesley ( Kevin Doyle) entitled to a disruption of his existence.

We appreciate this nostalgic look at the transition from silent cinema to talkies – even if it is brushed in sometimes caricatural broad strokes –, we always swoon over the sets and costumes, we resolutely love the acerbic replies of Maggie Smith. But is it enough to go see this production in theaters?


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