Downton Abbey: A New Era Movie Review
The ultimate comfort food show is back with Downton Abbey: A New Era, but after six seasons and two movies, it’s time to say goodbye to these characters who have overstayed their welcome.
I was a fan of the show for the first few seasons before losing interest, though I enjoyed the first movie, assassination subplot aside. But while Downton Abbey: A New Era is a pleasant enough watch, the movie establishes that all things must come to an end—and that cinema isn’t necessary the right place for this lightweight soap opera of sorts.
Any conflict—you know, the kind of stuff that makes character dramas like this worthwhile—that once existed between any of these characters has long since vanished; even the villainous Thomas Barrow is a nice guy now. There are no new romances to explore, relationships to threaten, or massive existential threats to the property at play.
It’s all just there, a forgettable if amusing kernel of a greater show, starring older, tired-looking versions of the cast members we care about.
A film colleague of mine described A New Era as “a nice standard episode” of the show, and she’s right; had I watched this on PBS or BBC I wouldn’t have batted an eye. But as a theatrical release—or as a two-hour “extravaganza”—Downton Abbey: A New Era is quintessentially inessential. Unnecessary. Comfort food gone stale.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.