Downton Abbey is a film of naive pretentiousness, and that will never work on the big screen
Based on the ITV series of the same name, with a reputation of over-emphasising basic drama from a time when everyday occurrences obviously seemed far more important than they do now, Downton Abbey is a piece with a real sense of worth, despite not necessarily doing enough to earn it. Yes, the hardcore fans will love a big screen edition, but a full length feature is a different entity. Desiring a reintroduction of the characters and their roles in the piece, a hefty run time is probably required, and that with that, comes a story that absolutely gets lost in the mess of the upstairs-downstairs nature of the piece.
The film presumes its characters are already cared for, and introduces a multitude of new nemeses for these, expecting the audience to back them wholeheartedly. Downton Abbey is a film of naive pretentiousness, and that will never work on the big screen, at least not further than pleasing the hoards of fans the series already had, who love sitting on their sofas watching whatever flicks on to their screen next.
Often seeming undesirably naff and immensely pointless, the piece backs a portion of those with inherited wealth above all else, at a time when inherited wealth is once again at the peak of its backlash from those less well off. It would perhaps work better if they weren’t posed as some form of greater, understanding beings, as if they should be let off because they can’t do anything about being born into ridiculous sums of money.
Throw in a visit from the monarchy, and all sense of relatability goes out the window. It’s a throwback to simpler times when people were expected to keep their mouths shut about injustice and unfairness in the societal system. Don’t glorify it, paint it as a realistic look at the time. Glossing over anything is a bad idea, especially when that involves such a blatant societal injustice.
It’s drama is boring and unwelcoming, and tries some strange sub-plot to suggest it’s a relatable modern look at the times of old. But it isn’t, and that makes it even more irritating and misunderstanding. It’s a film that will gain no new fans, but really, that is no surprise at all.
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