Downton Abbey, a Masterpiece by Masterpiece


The 2019 Movie Cover of Downton Abbey

Ellis Smith, Contributing Writer

Amazing costumes? Yes.

Beautiful settings? Yes.

Historical Acuity? Ok, not so much.

Downton Abbey, a show based on the time period of 1914-1925, is about a family trying to deal with the changing times and the struggle with the upkeep of a big house. Downton Abbey ended in 2016 with 52 episodes total from its 6 seasons. Now in 2019, it has returned as a movie with $31 million in ticket sales so far and a production budget of $16–25 million, rather than the $1.5 million budget of one TV season. The historical fiction movie was filmed at Highclere Castle. The movie brings up challenges in the 1900s like same-sex dating and the struggle of maintaining a big household.

During the last season of Downton Abbey, most characters were getting their happy ever after. Mr. Carson, the butler at the time, and Mrs. Hughes, the housekeeper, got married. Lady Mary, who was widowed by her first husband and got hit by a car in season 3, married Henry Tablot, a former race car driver, and announced that she was pregnant. Lady Edith, who has never been given a break from unfortunate events on the show, got jilted at the altar in season 3 and got pregnant out of wedlock in season four. Luckily, she got married to Herbert Pelham the 7th Marquess of Hexham, and finally had a happy ever after. Anna, a maid to Lady Mary, and Mister Bates, Lord Grantham’s Valet, had their son just before the new year. This was the last season and the writer was giving most characters a happy ending. So what could possibly happen in the movie?

The Downtown Abbey movie takes place in 1927 about two years after season 6. When King George V and Queen Mary of England go to Downton Abbey during their tour of England, the Crowley family and staff have to get ready for the Crowns’ appearance.

Although the movie was not filled with guns and violence, like most movies today, it still has a wide appeal to many different age groups.

Nonetheless, according to Holly Hill a sophomore, even though she enjoyed the movie, it felt a little rushed making it not as good as the TV show. This is probably because the movie couldn’t fit everything a six-season show could with hours of episodes. 

All the costumes were made by Anna Mary Scott Robbins. She created over 100 costumes that all look like perfection with intricate beading and sewing. Everything fits the time period.

The movie has amazing actors like Maggie Smith, who has played Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter series, Wendy in Hook, and Mrs. Medlock in The Secret Garden.  In Downton Abbey Smith plays Lady Violet,  a funny and sharp old lady, that reveals the quality of her acting.

“[One of my favorite scenes was in the beginning when Violet and Isabel were having a funny argument and Violet insulted her,” Hill said.

Other great actors are Michelle Dockery, Sophie McShera and Rob James Collier. 

Michelle Dockery played Lady Mary. She’s the eldest daughter of the Earl of Grantham and in charge of maintaining the household to make sure that it doesn’t fail in the new times. Sophie McShera played Daisy, the cook that helps the head chef Mrs. Patmore in the kitchen. Rob James Collier played Tomish Barrow, a butler who struggles with his sexuality in the 1920s.

Hill said her favorite part of the movie was when Tomish meets one of the King’s staff members and ends up going to a secret gay bar.  

If you like drama, romance, comedy and a little bit of action without the gore, this movie is one to see.

Downton Abbey, by PBS Masterpiece Classic, is a masterpiece.