<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>

Directed by Simon Curtis. Starring Hugh Bonneville, Samantha Bond, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Raquel Cassidy, Jonathan Coy, Brendan Coyle, Hugh Dancy, Michelle Dockery, Kevin Doyle, Michael Fox, Joanne Froggatt, Robert James-Collier, Harry Hadden-Paton, Laura Haddock, Sue Johnston, Allen Leech, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Sophie McShera, Tuppence Middleton, Lesley Nicol, Douglas Reith, Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Penelope Wilton

Fans of the series couldn’t get enough of it, hence the two movies that followed. But A New Era certainly denotes the end of an era for this beloved franchise.

Kevin Doyle as Mr. Molesley and Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary

Creator of the show Julian Fellowes struck gold with this labour of love because he made it beautifully, with loveable characters, charming settings and dramatic stories that always tugged at your heart and made you root for the good guys. Also, the upstairs-downstairs of Downton portrayed a real contrast between the haves and have nots but showed us that there wasn’t much difference between the two at the end of the day. They both needed each other to survive.

In A New Era, the Dowager Countess Violet (Maggie Smith) inherits a villa in the South of France left to her by an old flame she knew but for a week in her married youth. The family (and friends) must travel there to see the existing owners – the wife and son – to ensure a smooth transition of the villa to the heir the Countess has decided to bequeath it to.

Downton Abbey goes to the South of France

In the meantime, Downton Abbey becomes the scene of production of one of the last silent films of the era, complete with glamorous actors and a dashing director who of course makes a beeline for Mary (Michelle Dockery), whose husband is away and nowhere to be seen in the film.

Everyone is happy, some have challenges to overcome – which they obviously do – some relationships evolve and some characters make a timely exit (I would not say).

It isn’t as moving or dramatic as the previous movie, but loose ends are tied up, some characters get their happy endings and of course the viewer is treated to this warm cup of tea for the soul.

Sophie McShera as Daisy and Lesley Nicol as Mrs. Patmore in DOWNTON ABBEY: A New Era

I was a bit sad that the relationship between Barrow (Robert James-Collier) and his new love interest wasn’t a bit deeper and more intimate like the previous film’s love angle, but then I guess the time period wouldn’t allow for that. Just happy he finds someone.

Hugh Bonneville as Lord Grantham, Elizabeth McGovern as Cora Grantham and Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith Hexham in DOWNTON ABBEY: A New Era

Say goodbye to Downton Abbey, with the knowledge that they saved it from the new age while also moving with the times.


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