Director of Downton Abbey A New Era: Simon Curtis
The cast of Downton Abbey A New Era: Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, Hugh Dancy, Dominic West, Laura Haddock, Jim Carter, Elizabeth McGovern, Laura Carmichael
Rating of the movie Downton Abbey A New Era: 2 stars
The more it changes, the more it is the same chosen. Pardon the French, but this plunge back into the pastoral and pastel palimpsest of the born English mansion could promise A New Era, via Hollywood and the South of France, but nothing really changes for the Granthams.
Well, one thing does. A villa on the Côte d’Azur falls into their lap, exactly the kind of gifts the rich pass on to other rich people, even though the acquaintance lasted a whole “idyllic interlude” 60 years ago.
It kicks off an aspect of the so-called ‘New Era’, with much lukewarm (never heated) speculation as to why Lady Violet Grantham would receive such devoted attention from a French Marquess. whom she briefly met. It’s exactly what you think.
The other side involves the Granthams hosting a film crew in their stately Downton Abbey for a month because they’re so squeezed for money they can’t fix a leaky attic. On all other issues, presumably, there is no requirement to tighten the purse strings – no one manages the money, not even a stock exchange, so one cannot be sure.
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Movies themselves enter a new era as talkies break in. The silent film Barber (Dancy) is shooting at Downton almost comes to a halt as a result, until Lady Mary (Dockery) comes up with a solution that may not be as simple as it looks: why not just start recording the dialogue? This upsets the movie’s mute superstars Dexter (West) and Dalgleish (Haddock), who have never done a walkie-talkie before. While Dexter quickly finds his feet, given his British background, Dalgleish is uncomfortable with his American accent, and so Mary returns.
There are some minor traumas to overcome; certain desires to be squeezed; some unions to make; others to whisper only; the servants to cuddle, keep happy and, briefly, taste upstairs; and a wedding and funeral to break out the cutlery.
But, in the end, no slowdown here. The weather is always good at Downton.